A devastating collection exploring the wake of mankind’s greatest conflict
World War II exerted a psychic toll on Europe that is still evident today. The Pegnitz Junction is Mavis Gallant’s look at how Europe handles that collective pain. In the title novella of this sharply written collection, a girl rides the train with her boyfriend and his son in postwar Europe. Onboard, she encounters all manner of personalities, each person burdened by the weight of what he or she has just experienced, openly bleeding from the emotional wounds of a terrifying global conflict.
A wife must come to terms with her husband’s mistakes and find reconciliation in herself as she meets the refugee he had an affair with. A soldier must reintegrate himself into civilian life, no matter how difficult it is. An unlikely friendship between an actress and a police commissioner begins to form. No matter where or when Gallant’s stories are set, each one is a small enchantment, anchored by the insights of a master of her craft.