MY HEART IS BROKEN by Mavis Gallant
Kirkus Star


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This collection of deceptively casual short stories, eight of them and one short novel, includes much of the best work Mavis Gallant has done, and the shorter pieces have all appeared in The New Yorker. Although most of them deal with more impalpable experiences, Miss Gallant writes with a sharp eye for the physical accessories which will define a time and place and set a mood. A pension on the Riviera is the scene for two of the stories; in one, the life of some elderly gentlewomen has been reduced to petty irritability and niggardly underfeeding; in the other a maiden lady guards her memorabilia in a trunk along with a make believe identity. In Paris there are other castoffs: a middle aged woman given to unrewarded benevolences and attachments; a younger, homeless stray. In the Montreal household of a militantly enlightened woman, another Bernadette, whose vocabulary and intelligence is limited to ""sais pas"", has a moving vision. The short novel, Its Image on the Mirror, is more diffuse-- the dismantling of an old house unlooses many memories, and a prim, puritan girl's fascination for her derelict sister who defies and defeats the family.... The stories are, as established in The Other Paris, Green Water, Green Sky (both Houghton Mifflin) feminine and perhaps too lowkeyed to assure the audience they deserve-- they are written with charm, mobility and a calculable finesse.

Publisher: Random House