Mavis Gallant is admired and beloved as one of the masters of the modern short story. Selected from early collections and the New Yorker, where many of the author's stories have appeared over the last fifty years, and with an introduction by Jhumpa Lahiri, The Cost of Living
reveals a writer coming into her own. The stories span the first twenty
years of a long career, from the poise and poignancy of her very first
published story, 'Madeleine's Birthday' (1951), to the masterly
exploration of the passage of time in the long story 'The Burgundy
Weekend' (1971) that appears here in book form for the first time.
Gallant's sensibility has always been cosmopolitan and these
stories take us from Quebec to postwar Europe, via New York and New
England, before settling, like their author, in Paris. Everywhere the
book reveals Gallant's subtly penetrating psychological insight, wit
and unsentimental sympathy for the excluded and the exiled, not to
mention her wonderfully wicked sense of humour.