From a 2002 interview with Newsday:
What gave her the determination to lead the kind of life she wanted?
“Well, I didn't think I was going to get six or seven tries at life.”
On moving to Paris alone in the fifties:
Across the aisle from me was a woman of about 35, on her own, very good looking, and I guess she was a journalist. She had a pile of the evening newspapers, and she was reading them as she ate. I still remember—she had oysters, she had a half a bottle of white wine and then she had a fruit tart, I think strawberry or raspberry. And nobody bothered her. She just read and she read, and nobody said to her, 'Are you waiting for someone, madam?' And she paid and she left, and I thought, this is paradise.
@ the New Yorker: Postscript: Mavis Gallant, 1922–2014