These twelve stories are set in Paris, Mavis Gallant's adopted home, a city whose nuances she brings to life through a wide range of characters: squabbling writers, bewildered parents, scheming art dealers, beleaguered tenants, and feckless drifters. An artist's widow proves more than a match for Sandor Speck, who hopes to make a name for himself with her late husband's paintings. Literary rivals Prism and Grippes, the protégés of a rich, misguided American patron, battle across the years. And in the Magdalena stories, a man is caught in the pull of loyalties between his beautiful first wife from a marriage of political conscience, and the woman he truly loves. Elegant, concise, finely textured, these stories never relax the tension between detachment and compassion, understanding and mystery, memory and truth. With remarkable intelligence and an unfailing eye for the telling detail, Gallant weaves stories of intricate simplicity and spare complexity.