Overhead in a Balloon: Twelve Stories of Paris

Mavis Llant, Author, Mavis Gallant, Author
Mavis Llant, Author, Mavis Gallant, Author Random House (NY) $16.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-394-54511-0
Reviewed on: 02/01/1987
Release date: 02/01/1987
Gallant ( Home Truths, etc.) sets these adroit stories (11 previously appeared in the New Yorker, one in Harper's in Paris, her home since 1950, binding them with droll, sometimes poignant humor and an assemblage of characters who pop up repeatedly, along with their relatives, neighbors and colleagues. Least successful is the title story, a dense confection combining an aged, confused mother, her exasperated brood, a rambling apartment and a morose tenant in a flurry of shifting focuses. Far more enjoyable is a trio of stories involving a testy French novelist and British author, once proteges of a singularly misguided, rich American, who aim literary potshots at each other across the years. Gallant is a master at montage; the overlapping angles of lives on view here hint deliciously at the full picture, yet never sate by tediously filling in all the details. (March 9)
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