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Bliss, and Other Stories

Bliss, and Other Stories


Bliss, and Other Stories

ratings:
4.5/5 (11 ratings)
Length:
2 hours
Released:
Dec 1, 2008
ISBN:
9789629547677
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

One of Katherine Mansfield’s finest short stories, Bliss, introduces us to Bertha, who experiences a sense of rapture as she reflects on her life. On her walk home one day, she is overwhelmed by a sense of bliss and contentment. However, her joy later turns to disappointment as she discovers her husband is having an affair with her new friend Pearl. Katherine Mansfield became well-known for her focus on psychological conflicts and complex characters; and Bliss displays these qualities brilliantly, exploring themes of marriage, adultery and duplicity. This set also contains five other short stories by Katherine Mansfield – Mr Reginald Peacock’s Day, Pictures, The Little Governess, Feuille D’Album, and A Dill Pickle.
Released:
Dec 1, 2008
ISBN:
9789629547677
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Katherine Mansfield was a popular New Zealand short-story writer best known for the stories "The Woman at the Shore," "How Pearl Button Was Kidnapped," "The Doll’s House," and her twelve-part short story "Prelude," which was inspired by her happy childhood. Although Mansfield initially had her sights set on becoming a professional cellist, her role as editor of the Queen’s College newspaper prompted a change to writing. Mansfield’s style of writing revolutionized the form of the short story at the time, in that it depicted ordinary life and left the endings open to interpretation, while also raising uncomfortable questions about society and identity. Mansfield died in 1923 after struggling for many years with tuberculosis.


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Reviews

What people think about Bliss, and Other Stories

4.3
11 ratings / 7 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Bliss was Mansfield's second short story collection. The most conspicuous story in the book is not "Bliss", but "Prelude", a long piece about a middle-class New Zealand family, obviously modelled on Mansfield's own, moving to a new out-of-town house with a big garden. Apart from being rather longer than most, this has pretty much all the hallmarks of a Mansfield story. We are thrown in at the deep end without any explanation of who is who or what's happening, so that we have to work it out for ourselves from a series of little clues, and will make a few false assumptions before we get it all straight. Nothing obviously important happens, and the story stops as inexplicably as it started, with the lid of a jar falling off a table and not breaking. But in the meantime, we have somehow or other discovered a surprising amount about the members of the family and what is going on in their minds, information that would have made all their lives much easier if they had been able to express it and exchange it with each other. It's a story about things that mostly don't happen, connections that are not made, feelings that can't be shared. (An earlier version of this story was later published posthumously as "The Aloe".) The title story, "Bliss", the one Virginia Woolf threw down with the expression "She's done for!" the first time she read it ("...the whole conception is poor, cheap, not the vision, however imperfect, of an interesting mind. She writes badly too."), is perhaps the most direct in the book - Bertha is a young housewife who's feeling inexplicably much happier than is justified by being about to host a dinner-party. She discovers over the tomato soup that she's fallen desperately and completely in love - without realising it - with one of her guests. They share a perfect moment together over the pear tree, then Mansfield disillusions her horribly, and brings the story to a rapid halt before we've quite decided in which way everything is going to continue badly - for continue badly it must.The remaining stories in the collection all seem to touch on similar themes of people being stuck in situations where they are permanently at cross-purposes, doing some kind of slow, painful harm through their inability to be open and honest about something. Sometimes it's a marriage, sometimes employer and employee, sometimes a group of people trapped in the same social convention. The mood is steered by important little details of setting, speech, weather, plants (Mansfield always brings significant plants in somewhere), but there's always something nasty for us to discover about human nature, and it's usually something that we wouldn't have discovered without Mansfield to lead us to it.
  • (3/5)
    While I like the style in which these stories are written, each one has a very similar, predictable quality. Because of this I don't know if I have much to say about them, though I would recommend the collection for someone looking for light reading.My favorite story has to be 'Mr. Reginald Peacock's Day,' as I love the way the main character is always saying 'Dear lady, I shall be only too charmed.' This is his standard response to anything his singing-lesson students say, and he's programmed the phrase into his general reflexes, for better or worse.
  • (4/5)
    Beautiful written stories in the mode of Chekhov. I'm withholding a star because there was a certain sameness to them. The "good" person is always deceived/disillusioned at the end. In Bliss, the woman's best friend is betraying her with her husband. In the final story, the little governess who is so enamored with the grandfatherly train companion finds herself the object of his lust. The singer, maker of beauty for others, is a bully in his own home. Those that possess grace/virtue are inevitably duped by life. Still, she writes like an angel.
  • (5/5)
    The best thing about the book is the narrator! I love Juliet Stevenson
  • (4/5)
    Doubtless the precursor to Modernism as we know it, Mansfield effortlessly melds the schizophrenia of the Gothic with the disjointed imagery and stream of consciousness description of Modernism. Mansfield endows her foils with hidden agendas and her narrators with an uncanny paranoia and fear of the unknown. Several of the stories herein feature children, but often presented starkly, as if through the lens of the governess or coquette. A few of the characters espouse lesbian and bi traits while simultaneously neutered and crushed under the cloister-like oppression of reality and the masculine dominated 19th Century repression. These stories are built not on plot or characterization, but instead on mood and the half-remembered feelings about seemingly inconsequential past events.
  • (4/5)
    The opening story, about Lottie and Kezia and family, was a good introduction for me because the only Mansfield I'd read previously was "The Doll's House" in high school. She writes wonderfully character-focused stories, whether these are ordinary or extraordinary characters, children or adults, lovely characters or characters with some petty nasty flaw: they're all intensely real.

    "Bliss" itself was wonderful -- the emotion in it, and the constraint around it, and then the ending... And "The Little Governess" who I just want to hug.

    Some I had trouble following -- it didn't help that the NZETC epub tended to repeat chunks of pages and sometimes paragraphed strangely, but there were some stories (especially "The Escape") where the focus moved from one character to another just when I wasn't expecting it to; and then I just couldn't grasp the nub of "The Wind Blows".
  • (4/5)
    4½ stars - I think I liked these stories even more than The Garden Party and Other Stories. Mansfield's use of color in her descriptions reminds me a bit of Willa Cather although her people are quite different. The title seems ironic since most of the stories described less than perfect relationships...