The Cost of Living

The Cost of Living

Early and Uncollected Stories

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
Rate this:
A New York Review Books Original
Mavis Gallant is renowned as one of the great short-story writers of our day. This new gathering of long-unavailable or previously uncollected work presents stories from 1951 to 1971 and shows Gallant's progression from precocious virtuosity, to accomplished artistry, to the expansive innovatory spirit that marks her finest work.

"Madeleine's Birthday," the first of Gallant's many stories to be published in The New Yorker, pairs off a disaffected teenager, abandoned by her social-climbing mother, with a complacent middle-aged suburban housewife, in a subtly poignant comedy of miscommunication that reveals both characters to be equally adrift. "The Cost of Living," the extraordinary title story, is about a company of strangers, shipwrecked over a chilly winter in a Parisian hotel and bound to one another by animosity as much as by unexpected love.

Set in Paris, New York, the Riviera, and Montreal and full of scrupulously observed characters ranging from freebooters and malingerers to runaway children and fashion models, Gallant's stories are at once satirical and lyrical, passionate and skeptical, perfectly calibrated and in constant motion, brilliantly capturing the fatal untidiness of life.
Publisher: New York : New York Review Books, c2009
ISBN: 9781590173275
Branch Call Number: c823 G163c
Characteristics: xii, 340 pages ; 21 cm
Alternative Title: Cost of living


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Sep 12, 2011

probably one of the best Canadian short fiction writers (on par with alice munro). these stories which have been gleamed from the new yorker are for the first time presented together. worth picking up and having in your own personal library.

Jul 04, 2011

When I subscribed to The New Yorker years ago, I would occasionally find a "short fiction" by Mavis Gallant and try to read it. I would find the writing of interest but the subjects and/or characters not worth my time to get involved. I would move on to the next cartoon and Pauline Kael's cinema review. I was idealistic then.
Now at my jaundiced age and disillusioned outlook on life, I can better appreciated the art and observations of Ms. Gallant. Each short story is a slice of life. Some slices of only an hour, some of more than a year, with people who are in the midst of their banal, slow-moving, confusing, habitual, most ordinary acts, some pivotal, some routine, where little ever gets resolved at the story's end. Most of Ms Gallant's characters are lost souls just trying to get by. It is Ms. Gallant's marvellous skills at observation of the human condition and her use of language to communicate what she sees that grab your attention and pull you through situations in life that are so typical that they are less than attention-getting in any other writer's prose.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at VPL

To Top