The Pegnitz Junction depicts the lives of ordinary people swept up in the upheaval and displacement that followed in the wake of the Second World War. A woman prepares for what promises to be another disastrous Christmas with her mother, her aunt, and her would-be war-hero uncle. A woman travels to Paris with her older lover and his young son. A wife recollects her complicated relationship with the refugee woman who had an affair with her husband. Small mercies form the backbone of a friendship between an actress and a police commissioner. A career soldier, now discharged and stranded in France, makes his first adjustments to life as a civilian. In these stories, Mavis Gallant distils the vanities, absurdities, and contradictions that lie at the heart of human behaviour and fashions stories of rare power and insight.