Canada Reads·Canadian

From the Fifteenth District

Mavis Gallant's collection of short stories is set in Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Mavis Gallant

Set in Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War, the stories in this collection are incisive, nuanced portraits of émigrés and displaced people whose lives are in a state of turmoil and flux. Mavis Gallant's elegant, witty prose brings these characters and their complex situations fully to life.

From the Fifteenth District was a contender on Canada Reads 2008, when it was championed by Lisa Moore.

Mavs Born in Montreal, Gallant was an internationally celebrated Canadian short story writer who lived and worked for most of her life in Paris, France. She was appointed an officer of the Order of Canada in 1981 and in 1993 was elevated to companion, the order's highest level. Her collection Home Truths: Selected Canadian Stories won the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction in 1981.

From the book

In the south of France, in the business room of a hotel quite near to the house where Katherine Mansfield (whom no one in this hotel had ever heard of) was writing "The Daughters of the Late Colonel," Netta Asher's father announced that there would never be a man-made catastrophe in Europe again. The dead of that recent war, the doomed nonsense of the Russian Bolsheviks had finally knocked sense into European heads. What people wanted now was to get on with life. When he said "life," he meant its commercial business.

Who would have contradicted Mr. Asher? Certainly not Netta. She did not understand what he meant quite so well as his French solicitor seemed to, but she did listen with interest and respect, and then watched him signing papers that, she knew, concerned her for life.

From From the Fifteenth District by Mavis Gallant ©1973. Published by McClelland & Stewart.

Interviews with Mavis Gallant

Mavis Gallant: a Canadian in Paris in 1965

8 months ago
Duration 45:06
In 1965, expatriate short story writer Mavis Gallant shows viewers the adopted city she calls home. Aired on CBC-TV's Telescope on Jan. 22, 1965.
The Canadian short story writer discusses her book From the Fifteenth District.

More about Mavis Gallant

Mavis Gallant dies at 91

9 years ago
Duration 1:37
Internationally celebrated Canadian short story writer, lived and worked for most of her life in Paris

Mavis Gallant, 1922-2014

9 years ago
Duration 2:25
Short story maven dies in Paris at age 91
Mavis Gallant died today at the age of 91. Widely acknowledged as a master of the short-story, she wrote dozens of dazzling, sardonic, heart-breaking short stories, for which she was showered with honours. A documentary portrait by Megan Williams.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Account Holder

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?