Paris Notebooks: Essays & Reviews


249 pages
ISBN 0-7715-9610-3




Reviewed by Joan McGrath

Joan McGrath is a Toronto Board of Education library consultant.


Mavis Gallant’s Paris Notebooks add fresh lustre to a shining reputation. As the title suggests, this is a collection of essays and reviews, of which the first and most compelling section consists of the two-part New Yorker series, “The Events of May — A Paris Notebook.” Gallant was a deeply concerned observer of the 1968 student revolt in Paris: she was, indeed, by mere proximity almost personally involved when long-simmering issues of class conflict and generational resentments boiled over to fill the Paris streets and headlines. “Immortal Gatito: The Gabrielle Russier Case” is the tragic story of a schoolteacher-pupil love affair with a difference. This time the teacher was a woman, the much younger student a youth. The results for the teacher were disgrace, imprisonment, madness, and death. Other, briefer pieces are reviews and comment on issues, such as the wanton destruction of Paris’s architecture dear to Gallant’s heart.

Gallant is a writer of consummate grace and perception; this volume is, as to be expected of a superb stylist, a beautiful piece of work.


Gallant, Mavis, “Paris Notebooks: Essays & Reviews,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 20, 2024,