With careful, quiet observation, Mansfield illuminates complicated relationships and profound, often troubling ideas. Her stories often feature young women in the process of maturity, confronting for the first time some of the realities of life.
In the title story, a young woman's garden party coincides with the death of a working-class neighbor, bringing a brush of mortality and realism into her carefully constructed plans and ideals. Her difficulty in fully realizing the seriousness of the event is typical of Mansfield's ironic world.
(P)1998 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"With the timing and phrasing of a musician, Marguerite Gavin narrates this last-published collection of Katherine Mansfield's short stories. Gavin has a lovely singing voice....[She] reads with a great deal of enthusiasm and expression." (AudioFile)
Katherine Mansfield's stories are delicate gems, but they require a sensitive reading, which is sadly lacking here.
The stories are held together with tiny strands, usually made from the internal emotional progression of the characters, but sometimes held together by the reader's emotional reaction to the story. A specific effect or mood seems to be intended, so it's more effective to read/hear these stories at one sitting.
These are delicacies, not steak and potatoes. But when you connect with the story, the emotional zingers are quite powerful. That is what I enjoy about Mansfield's stories.
The narrator is terrible, I'm sorry to say. This my first great disappointment with an Audible.com narrator. I guess she is trying to sound ironic, but instead she sounds laconic, catatonic, lobotomized, monotone. Once in a while she loses her self-consciousness and gets emotionally connected with the reading. At those times she is fairly effective.
These are exquisite masterpieces for the connoisseur who appreciates them. You can't edit masterpieces!
Look for another collection with a different narrator. This reading is just too painful to enjoy.
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