Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Garden Party and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield

Oh, Katherine Mansfield, where have you been all my life?

I'm no expert on this type of writing, but I know beautiful stuff when I read it. With 15 stories crammed into this small volume, I felt immensely involved with the characters of all of them. To me, none of the stories had a real beginning, nor end. It was as though you were just plopped into a certain character's life on just any old day and were observing them. You witnessed their emotions, listened to their thoughts and sometimes observed them making a life altering decision.

My favorites from this collection were: At the Bay, The Garden Party, The Voyage, Miss Brill, and The Lady's Maid.

Most of the stories dealt with women. You saw some of them go out into the world for the first time, but the characters that affected me most were the ones with the sad stories. Miss Brill, for example, who has formed this imaginary world around her, feeling that she is needed and has formed imaginary connections with strangers. When she overhears a comment by a young couple, she is snapped into the reality that she isn't needed, but is immensely lonely. In The Lady's Maid you witness a woman giving up true happiness because of her connection with her mistress. It is sad, seeing these women when they suddenly witness where they are with their lives.

It's blasphemy that Mansfield isn't as celebrated as other writers from her era such as Woolf and T.S. Eliot. Her work should be more revered than it is.

I'm including this in my list for the Women Unbound Challenge


Kals said...

Mansfield sounds totally like my kind of author :) I'll definitely check her out! Thanks for the review :)

Joanne said...

Thank you for bringing this author to my attention -- I will look into this collection of stories.

Care said...

I know nothing of this author. Just yesterday, I saw a post on how much Woolf disliked her so I am so glad to see this review. Thank you.

Christy B said...

Care, where exactly did you see that?

Woolf didn't hate Mansfield, she was very jealous of her. She once said, that Mansfield's writing was, "...the only writing I have ever been jealous of." She did say insulting things about Mansfield, but they were out of jealousy.

Amy said...

I so agree Christy! I haven't read much of Mansfield, but I did read about her marriage in "Uncommon Arrangements." Now, I totally want to go out and read her stories. She's a fascinating person!

Lisa said...

Where ever she's been, she was hiding well because I've never heard of her either. But I'm definitely going to have to check it out.