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The ten stories in In the Village of Viger portray the life of a rural village as it faces the darkness of its own future. An established milliner, Madame Laroque, is upset by the advent of a younger, more popular rival. An innkeeper's obsession with the Franco-Prussian War drives his descent into madness. A gardener longs to return to the village in France where his mother was born. At once comical, farcical, and tragic, this superb collection, first published in 1896, anticipates later collections of linked short stories including Alice Munro's Who Do You Think You Are? and Margaret Laurence's A Bird in the House .