Famed Canadian-born writer Mavis Gallant dies at 91; Paris-based master of short story

The Associated Press

In this Wednesday, Oct. 28, 1981 photo, Mavis Gallant is shown in Montreal. Gallant, the Montreal-born writer who carved out an international reputation as a master short-story author while living in Paris for much of her life, has died at age 91, her publisher says. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ian Barrett)

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Gallant didn't often write about herself, but she wrote often of people who, like her, lived in exile. Some of her early life is revealed in a series of stories in the collection "Home Truths."

In a series of stories, she invents a young Canadian woman, Linnet Muir, who lived in New York for a while and then was hired by a Montreal newspaper during World War II. Like Muir, Gallant remembers hearing her boss say the only reason they hired her is because so many men were off at war.

Gallant wrote only two novels, "Green Water, Green Sky" and "A Fairly Good Time," as well as the play "What is to be Done?"

Authors who contributed to Gallant's collections — either through introductions, afterwords or editing — include Richler, Russell Banks and Michael Ondaatje.

Gallant told The Paris Review that writing is like "a love affair: the beginning is the best part."

"I write every day," she said. "It is not a burden. It is the way I live."

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