The Garden Party and Other Stories

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9780140181487: The Garden Party and Other Stories

In deceptively simple language, Katherine Mansfield illuminates complicated relationships and profound, often troubling, ideas. Couples who marry for ambiguous reasons, lovers who persistently misunderstand one another, women who cling to unrealized dreams and unrecognized prejudices -- Mansfield captures the telling moments of her character's lives in precise, luminous detail. The fifteen stories in this collection range from "At the Bay", an impressionistic evocation of family life set in her native New Zealand, to "Miss Brill", the story of a lonely woman devastated by the mockery of pair of young lovers. The title story, an ironic vignette about a society woman briefly touched by the real world at the funeral of her working-class neighbor, is an experiment with voices, viewpoints, and allusions that continues to surprise and delight readers even today.

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Written during the final stages of her illness, "The Garden Party and Other Stories" is full of a sense of urgency and was Katherine Mansfield's last collection to be published during her lifetime. The fifteen stories, many of them set in her native New Zealand, vary in length and tone from the opening story, "At the Bay, " a vivid impressionistic evocation of family life, to the short, sharp skectch "Mrs. Brill, " in which a lonely woman's precarious sense of self is brutally destroyed when she overhears two young lovers mocking her. Sensitive revelations of human behaviour, these stories reveal Mansfield's supreme talent as an innovator who freed the story from its conventions and gave it a new strength and prestige.

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