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Day 3

Green Water, Green Sky by Mavis Gallant

Reading: Chapter 2 through the break on p. 306 to the break on p. 315

August 22, 2020 by Elliott Holt

“Bonnie was not offended. Possibly she had always wanted this.” There’s comedy and pathos in that “possibly,” which suggests that Bonnie is never quite sure what she wants. She’s afraid of going too deep into her own psyche.

Bonnie brought Flor to Europe when she was 37 and Flor was 12. Now Bonnie is 52 and Flor is 26, so they have been expatriates for 14 years. We know they left New York shortly after WWII, so presumably it’s now 1959, the year the novel was published.

I have a first edition whose cover describes Green Water, Green Sky as a “novel in which time is the principal actor.” In some sense, time is the principal actor in all fiction, but I think that the perception of time is the main actor here.

“Interviewer: Do you think of yourself as a Parisian? An expatriate?

Gallant: I am a writer and, of course, a Canadian."

The Paris Review interview with Mavis Gallant.

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