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"Selected Stories" by Katherine Mansfield

Selected Stories may be downloaded for free from our ebook catalog. It includes The Garden Party and Other Stories, Bliss and Other Stories, and In a German Pension. The following post is by Nicola Scott who blogs regularly at Vintage Reads.

Selected StoriesHas Katherine Mansfield gone out of fashion? I couldn't find her in Waterstones or W H Smith. Not on the literary shelves. Not on the 20th century fiction shelves. Nothing in the library. When I first discovered Mansfield back in the 80's she was always well-stocked in bookshops and there were quite a lot of articles about her in the media, too. After all, this was a young woman whose writing was not only admired and fostered but envied by Virgina Woolf.

Short stories have to be good to drag me away from my beloved novels and Katherine Mansfield's short stories are very good indeed. This selection stories includes some set in Europe and others set in Mansfield's native New Zealand. I particularly like the New Zealand stories and these include "The Garden Party", "Her First Ball", and "Prelude".

In "The Garden Party", Jose, Laura and Meg Sheridan are assisting their mother to prepare for a lavish party. Workmen arrive to set up a marquee, the gardener is preparing the lawn, the cook is taking deliveries of pastries and pots of pink canna lilies are arriving from the florist. Amidst the preparations a workman is thrown from his horse and killed in the lane outside their house. Laura feels it is no longer appropriate to hold the party but her mother and sisters insist on going ahead...

Also recommended is "The Daughters of the Late Colonel" a bleakly comic tale about two delightful sisters, Josephine and Constantia, who have been so oppressed and bullied by their late father they still feel the need to defer to him even after his funeral has taken place. I also liked "Marriage a la Mode" in which a man's wife is heavily influenced by her pretentious literary and artistic friends who lounge around his house, eat all his food and sneer at him for working for a living.

Mansfield's style is to show and not tell, and many of her stories have a dark or ominous twist which left this reader longing to know more.

Discussion

  1. lewerentz says:

Reply to Laura McDonald

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