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The Garden Party and Other Stories

The Garden Party and Other Stories


The Garden Party and Other Stories

ratings:
4/5 (17 ratings)
Length:
3 hours
Released:
Jan 10, 2008
ISBN:
9780194209786
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Oh, how delightful it is to fall in love for the first time! How exciting to go to your first dance when you are a girl of eighteen! But life can also be hard and cruel, if you are young and inexperienced and travelling alone across Europe ...or if you are a child from the wrong social class ...or a singer without work and the rent to be paid. Set in Europe and New Zealand, these nine stories by Katherine Mansfield dig deep beneath the appearances of life to show us the causes of human happiness and despair.
Released:
Jan 10, 2008
ISBN:
9780194209786
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 The Garden Party and Other Stories

3.9
17 ratings / 14 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    "Garden Party" illustrates many themes: wealth versus poverty, insensitivity versus compassion, death versus life. Wealthy Mrs. Sheridan has been preparing for an elaborate garden party with flowers and tents, food and music. Servants and gardeners and workers toil like busy bees here, there, and everywhere setting up chairs, organizing the musicians, placing the flowers just so. The excitement catches with her four children, too. But when a terrible accident leaves a man dead right outside their gates daughter Laura doesn't thinks it's appropriate for the show to go on. She questions the sensitivity of their actions. Later Mrs. Sheridan allows Laura to bring a basket of food to the dead man's family. Walking through the poor neighborhood gives Laura a new perspective and in the face of mortality she learns about living.
  • (2/5)
    I was bored and couldn't get into the story at all. It seemed totally pointless. Overly descriptive with nothing actually happening.
  • (5/5)
    The Garden Party - like Bliss - is dominated by an extended story drawn from the author's childhood, in this case "At the bay", where the family we met in "Prelude" are staying in a summer-house by the sea, and once again we discover mostly through indirect signs - the plants, the beach, the play of the children - the invisible rifts that run between the members of the apparently harmonious family group. The title-story is one of Mansfield's most anthologised stories, so you'll have read it twenty years ago and answered exam questions on Mansfield's death-imagery, but it's worth coming back to. It seems to have just about everything - endless quantities of plants, a significant piece of music, failures of communication within a bourgeois family, incomprehension between rich and poor, the well-intentioned action that is undermined by its initiator's realisation that she's being patronising. But it never reads like just a text for an Eng Lit paper: it's a story you can't help engaging with emotionally.There are plenty more gems in this collection as well: "The singing lesson" is a miracle of construction, which works despite the fact that you can almost see the gears turning to keep it going; "Miss Brill" and "The Lady's Maid" are both beautiful examples of texts where the reader has to create the story despite the narrator. And I don't see how anyone can fail to enjoy "The Voyage" or "Her First Ball".
  • (5/5)
    I do not enjoy short stories, but these were beautifully written, and pulled me in and had me so involved within seconds... I wish she had written novels. She didn't did she? I'm not missing out on something somewhere? But I can she why she and Virginia Woolf saw each other as equals.
  • (3/5)
    One of the early modernists, she is not a particularly astute psychologist nor does she do much with story, but the descriptions and urgency of her scenes where by sheer energy she tries to lift a moment through the screen is astonishing. She has these long rolling abundant sentences that are all about making the moment startlingly vivid and fresh. She died in her early thirties and may have gotten TB from DH Lawrence and that plus the death of her younger brother cast a long shadow. Things must be memorialized because there isn't much time and/or death lurks right in the next room. if it isnt' front and center it is still the predominant influence. The structure of the title story could not be more straightforward and you can't convince me she didn't have much fondness for her people, but still it has the same verve, that singular instance that the moment be fully displayed that reminds me of Joyce. The Voyage too was good. There are a few stories and then some things that didn't feel like much more than sketches but again, the sentences. Wow.
  • (5/5)
    Ahh, the joy of lacking formal education: a perpetual state of rapt discovery. Every book a favourite. Every author the greatest. Oh, oh, this! ... no, wait, this!

    I had to abandon after only a few pages my practice of copying down the most sparkling sentences, because in this case it would have amounted to wholesale transcription. Bubbly, effervescent sentences. Dazzling ones that make you giddy. Ones that make you exhale and put your book down. Endings that deliver.

    The phrase "prose stylist" is bandied about too readily on book jackets these days but it couldn't be more aptly applied to Mansfield, whose sharp prose glitters whether she is confiding warmly or taking the top of your head off.
  • (4/5)
    Interesting and thought provoking short story
  • (5/5)
    St. Barth trip Book #2: Wow...I loved this book. I know i read at least 2 of these stories back in school, or I assume i did because the story titles seemed familiar to me, but i had no recollection of them. My favorites were: The Garden Party; Miss Brill; Marriage A La Mode; & The Stranger. Many of these stories had a biting commentary on the ridiculousness of strict societal standards that lead people to behave merely for purposes of appearance to others, and in doing so, completely stifle their genuine humanity. And the stories are all very subtle. I felt i knew many of the characters quite well in the brief time i spent with them. I have learned that there are several other collections by Katherine Mansfield and i will be sure to hunt them down...soon!
  • (4/5)
    A collection of short stories, each a an exquisite portrait of a person and a situation. Issues of class and its impact upon lives explored. It often portrays the gap between dream and reality. I found the stories most intriguing for their superb portraits and psychological insight.
  • (4/5)
    Katharine Mansfield has a lovely writing style. Her short stories are poignant, subtle, and easy to move through. I was definitely left wishing for more.
  • (4/5)
    An influence for D.H Lawrence. Some poignant stories, studies of class.
  • (4/5)
    This was an interesting and diverse collection of short stories, most of them pretty great. They deal with loneliness, class issues and growing-up experiences, usually by presenting a snapshot of someone’s life, or by telling of a jarring transition. What struck me most was Mansfield’s carefulness in writing: the way she cares for her characters and her economy of expression I can only call “professional” -- it’s masterfully done.The first time I read something by Mansfield was when one or two of her short stories were assigned for a short story class at uni. I can see why: her stories work really great as exemplary illustrations of the genre. This was her third short story collection (apparently she called her first one, In a german pension “immature”), but these stories are definitely all grown up!
  • (5/5)
    Utterly fantastic. These stories are top-drawer examples of fiction writing, which might be the best compliment I can pay them. Virginia Woolf is the unavoidable point of comparisson here, and Mansfield's prose has the same touch of modernist brightness about them that Woolf's best stuff has. The stories in "The Garden Party" are largely written in the third person, and so it's not surprising that Mansfield's characters lack the full-on sense of interiority that Lily Briscoe and Clarissa Dalloway had. Still, her focus is on the full range of human experience: her descriptions seem at once sensuous and wonderfully far-reaching. Mansfield's themes are typically modernist -- Empire, class, as-yet-unarticulated social stressors -- and so this book will certainly appeal to fans of that period. Honestly, a few of these stories are no more than sketches, but they don't seem like mere sketches: Mansfield most extraordinary quality might be her seemingly effortlessly concision. The worlds of her characters seem to turn on a phrase, and she has the ability to describe their entire worldviews in just a few sentences. The jacket copy of my copy of "The Garden Party" refers to "pastels," and while that's not inaccurate, her writing's economy points to something else. If, in "To the Lighthouse," Lily Briscoe sought to paint a picture with "one colour melting into another like the colours on a butterfly’s wing; but beneath the fabric must be clamped together with bolts of iron... a thing you could ruffle with your breath; and a thing you could not dislodge with a team of horses," there's a fair bit more iron in Mansfield's writing than there is in Woolf's. These miniatures are both delicate and tough-minded. Highly recommended.
  • (4/5)
    For the past month I have been dipping in and out of this collection of short stories and for the most part I have found that each and every one had something about it that made it both readable and interesting. Some of my favorites were “Miss Brill”, “The Daughters of the Late Colonel” and “Her First Ball”. But my whole point of reading this collection was to read “The Garden Party” so I am commenting on that particular story here. Originally published in 1922, [The Garden Party] is a deceptively simple story that combines the themes of class difference with that of learning of one’s own mortality. The opening setting is one of luxury as a family is preparing for their annual garden party. With a marquee being raised, sandwiches being labelled with little flags and the piano being tuned, daughters Laura and Jose along with their mother Mrs. Sheridan are hoping for a successful social gathering. When news comes of the death of a working class neighbour, Laura feels that the party should be cancelled but her mother and sister over-ride this opinion. After the party, Laura’s mother puts together a basket of leftovers and sends her daughter to take this to the widow and offer the family’s condolences. Laura comes face to face with death and senses her own mortality. On her way home, she meets her brother but she is unable to put her thoughts into words. Yet her statement of “Isn’t life ____?” appears to be perfectly understood by him and it’s left for us to fill in the blank.Katherine Mansfield writes with both skill and style and in The Garden Party she conveys some major insights about life and living. I thought the author painted a vivid picture of life’s inequality through class and then just as vividly showed us that we are all equal in death. Although there was a sense of “old-fashioned-ness” about these stories, this collection was well worth reading.