Saturday, January 14

Book Review: From the Fifteenth District

Title: From the Fifteenth District

Author: Mavis Gallant

Pages: Ebook 233

Summary: Set in Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War, the nine stories in this glittering collection reflect on the foibles and dilemmas of human relationships. An English family goes to the south of France for the sake of the father’s health, and to get away from an England of rationing and poverty. A displaced person turned French soldier in Algeria now makes a living as an actor in Paris. A group of selfish English expatriates on the Italian Riviera are incredulous that Mussolini and the Germans may affect their lives. A great writer’s quiet widow blossoms in widowhood, to the surprise and alarm of her children, who send a ten-year-old grandson to Switzerland to keep her company one Christmas. Full of wry humour and penetrating insights, this is Mavis Gallant at her most unforgettable.

The Four Seasons
The Moslem Wife
The Remission
The Latehomecommer
Baum, Gabriel 1935- ()
From the Fifteenth District
His Mother

My Rating: 7.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The collection is incredibly well written, with concrete characters and in-depth stories. The short stories themselves, have almost a sleepy feel to them, they’re slow but in a good way, because each story takes the time to explore the characters and the plots of each story.

Some stories from the collection drew me in more than others; all had a strong voice, and each story had something that had me wanting just a little bit more from the author. Some of my favourites were; The Moslem Wife, From the Fifteenth District, The Latehomecommer, and Irina. I also enjoyed The Four Seasons.

While it wasn’t necessarily a collection that I couldn’t put down, I still enjoyed the author’s writing and voice. It may not be a collection I loved, but I did enjoy it quite a lot – I think it’s one of those collections you have to read multiple times, to fully appreciate everything the author has woven into her stories.

Would I recommend it to read:  I would, it was an enjoyable collection well worth checking out.

What to read next: I’d definitely read more by the author, and if you’re looking for more Canadian short story collections, Alice Munro would also be a good choice


  1. They're so good, aren't they? I've read quite a few but am always losing track of what ones I've read and what I still want to read, so I'm making a new project of her for this year. This one will be a good one to reread/read for sure!

    1. I'm definitely looking forward to checking out her other collections. Good luck with your reading project.