The City of Lights, as seen by one of its greatest citizens and admirers
Paris has been inspiring writers for centuries. Its neighborhoods and people make for a never-ending flow of potential stories. Mavis Gallant, Canadian by birth but Parisian since the 1950s, has created an incredibly loving and accomplished tribute to her adoptive home.
In this collection, Gallant illustrates the surprising sense of interconnectedness that comes from living in a big city, as characters from one story drift into another, disappearing only to pop up again much later. The book’s longest work depicts a wily art dealer looking to revive his business by “discovering” an obscure painter, despite the fact that the artist is both Canadian and no longer living. Other tales depict the experiences of the Pugh family, as its American relatives attempt to connect with their French roots.
Overhead in a Balloon weaves together the threads and experiences of a multitude of Parisians, each story suffused with Gallant’s feel for detail and atmosphere.