Short story: “Voices Lost in Snow”

by look i have opinions

“Voices Lost in Snow,” by Mavis Gallant

Appeared in the New Yorker in 1976; read by Margaret Atwood for the New Yorker Fiction Podcast released April 1st, 2013 (here)

Who even knows how many words—let’s say 5,000 or so

I wasn’t familiar with Gallant before listening to this podcast. She seems to have written many stories narrated by an adult from a child’s point of view, one of my favorite tricks. I was impressed by the way, at the end, the adults’ situation came belatedly into focus for me and Linnet simultaneously. (Maybe a sharper reader, or one better-versed in adultery, would have picked up on the father’s intentions right away. Even for such a reader, I think, that little scrap of gossip must still have the effect of an unveiling, as when a magician finally produces a coin or a card out of hiding.)

One thing I like about this episode is that Atwood repeatedly dismisses Treisman’s comments and leading questions. I often get annoyed with Treisman for saying things I feel to be obvious, irrelevant, or wrong. Few of her guests contradict her as bluntly as Atwood here.