February 2014
A Lunch with Mavis
December 2013
Award Season
November 2013
Harper's Magazine and The Wall Street Journal
September 2013
Interviews and Reviews
August 2013
Live on NBC's 'Morning Joe'
Excerpts and Other Reading Material
Book Launch!
July 2013
An Excerpt
The Trades Are Glowing
Dreaming of Forever
June 2013
The Wylie Agency
Limited Edition Octopus Print
November 2012
On The Big Screen
Fruit Hunters on Dr. Oz
China, Japan, Korea
February 2011
A Few Recent Stories
Wall Street Jam
Tomatoes and Kids
Travel and Leisure
October 2009
"The Very Noble Train of the Huntsman"
CBC Book Club And Other News
September 2009
Goblin Market
A Bumper Crop...
Turning Japanese
August 2009
The Children of Light - Photos!
Get Fruity
The Eternal Ones of the Dream
June 2009
UK Fruit Media Blitz
May 2009
Fruits of Desire
The Fruit Hunters UK... and other editions out now!
April 2009
Newsflash: The Center of the Galaxy Tastes Like Raspberries
Systems of Delayed Orgasms...
Obsession Lesson
March 2009
More Mega-Fruit Coverage
January 2009
Reading Matter
Upcoming Engagements
Miracle Fruit Frenzy Continues!
October 2008
Shortlisted 2x, Readings...
Fruit Club!
Morphology, Purple Flowers
Audio Book
Interviews, etc
July 2008
Maslin Picks Fruit!
Montreal Miracle Fruit Party
Fruity Freakies
June 2008
Montreal Launch
May 2008
New York Times Hearts Fruit Hunters
Canadian Tour
Jerusalem In My Heart
West Coast
A New Fruit Hunter Blog
Utne Reader on Orion Excerpt
Pre-Publication Fruit Hype
“Baby, Let’s Make Fruit Salad”
April 2008
Fruit Tour
The City is Blue
The Trades Are Glowing


A Lunch with Mavis

Feb 20, 2014

Imagine Paradise: Remembering Mavis Gallant
The Paris Review

Mavis Gallant was a family friend of ours. My mother knew her well. I remember her visits when I was a child: she was so intelligent, wry, and observant—so funny and so cool, with her Parisian air of detachment. She was fascinated with my platinum-haired younger brother, Julian, whom she deemed a “changeling.”

While passing through Paris in my late twenties, at work on my book The Fruit Hunters, I once stopped in to bring her a letter from my mother and some flowers. Not wanting to interrupt her writing, I suggested coffee or a glass of wine. She insisted we meet at Le Dome for lunch.

I arrived five minutes early, left her bouquet on the table, and went out to pick up a Herald Tribune. Workers were marching in the streets as part of a general manifestation against the government. By the time I returned, she was sitting there, beaming. She waved at the protesters, she whose May 1968 diary for The New Yorker concluded, “I am convinced that I have seen something remarkable.”
We had oysters. She chose Cancales, which she said were the tsars’ favorites. The oysters arrived shucked, but still attached to their bottom adductor muscle. “The difference between France and North America,” she explained, as though letting me in on a highly confidential secret, “is that the French like their oysters living and North Americans like their oysters dead.”

We spoke about writing, and living, and Montreal, which she left as a twenty-eight-year-old reporter to become a writer of short fiction in Paris. She didn’t like being around other writers, she confided, but she’d make an exception for me. I protested that I wasn’t yet a writer, that I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to finish a book. She spoke with acceptance, and some sadness, of the Dreyfus book she’d toiled on for years before finally shelving it. “I still have a thousand pages of it sitting in a linen closet, underneath my towels,” she said, looking up in resignation.

I thought of that indelible scene in The Other Paris, the one where a chunk of plaster bearing the foot of a nymph detaches itself from the theater ceiling and crashes to the floor.

Mavis seemed genuinely curious about my quest for fruits. I was en route to the Seychelles, once thought to be the literal site of the Garden of Eden. She spoke of how wonderful it would be if paradise turned out to be real, if we could taste its fruits in this lifetime. “Imagine?” she said. We both did so for a moment, and I wished I could see what she was seeing.

When we parted, on the boulevard du Montparnasse, I leaned over to give her a kiss on the cheek. “If you do find paradise,” she said, turning to leave, “send me a grape.”

She’ll be missed and mourned by all of us who knew and loved her, as well as those who admire her stories. Whether or not paradise exists, may you rest in peace, Mavis.