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Gallant, Mavis.

Toronto. Macmillan, 1988. 196pp, paper. $4.95, ISBN 0-7715-9543-3. (The Macmillan Paperback series #36). CIP

Adult/ Secondary
Reviewed by Judith Baxter

Volume 16 Number 6
1988 November

This collection of short stories and one novella first appeared in hard cover in 1973. Gallant has an uncanny talent for capturing the post-war anti-German sentiment in Europe. She uses various literally techniques including flashbacks, multiple narrators, and telling two independent stories simultaneously.

The themes centre on relationships between friends or lovers during the twenty years after World War II. The entire narrative of "The Pegnitz Junction" deals with three characters, a young woman, her lover and his young son, who all go on a holiday together. In what seems to be a futile existence, the characters exchange mundane dialogue while the father tries to shield his son from the devastation in Germany that surrounds them.

In "Ernst in Civilian Clothes," Ernst finds himself discharged from the French Foreign Legion and in civilian clothes for the first time since he joined the Hitler Youth as a young boy. The discomfort Ernst feels in his new clothes reflects his feeling of utter misplacement as a civilian after the war.

These stories are rather sophisticated in terms of style and language. Intended for older high school students and adults.

Judith Baxter, Toronto, Ont.
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