The Garden Party and Other Stories: Penguin Classics Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Brought to you by Penguin.
This Penguin Classic is performed by Bonnie Wright, best known for her role as Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter films. This definitive recording includes an introduction by Lorna Sage .
Innovative, startlingly perceptive and aglow with colour, these fifteen stories were written towards the end of Katherine Mansfield's tragically short life. Many are set in the author's native New Zealand, others in England and the French Riviera. All are revelations of the unspoken, half-understood emotions that make up everyday experience - from the blackly comic 'The Daughters of the Late Colonel', and the short, sharp sketch 'Miss Brill', in which a lonely woman's precarious sense of self is brutally destroyed, to the vivid impressionistic evocation of family life in 'At the Bay'. 'All that I write,' Mansfield said, 'all that I am - is on the borders of the sea. It is a kind of playing.'
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|Listening Length||6 hours and 57 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||September 26, 2019|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #197,113 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#1,247 in Fiction Short Stories
#5,788 in Classic Literature (Audible Books & Originals)
#18,734 in Short Stories (Books)
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1,On the Bay-vacation life at a summer resort in New Zealand. Charming
2. The Garden Party-A rich family in New Zealand plans for a big party while a worker living below their home is killed in an accident. Deals with class and gender issues. A masterpiece.
3. The Daughters of the Late Colonel-A bittersweet tale dealing with how two spinsters sisters deal with the death of their father.
4. Mr and Mrs Dove-The story of a love affair in which the characters are compared with doves. Charmingly told!
5.The Young Girl-A young woman enters a casino and the adult world.
6.Life of Ma Parker-Sad story of a working woman's life
7.Marriage a La Mode-A husband is distressed at his wife's running with a fast and shallow set of friends.
8. The Voyage-A story about a young girl and her grandmother on a short sea voyage to a funeral.
9. Miss Brill-An older woman muses upon life and her attendance at a band concert. Set in France.
10.The First Ball-A young New Zealand girl attends her first ball in the city.
11. The Singing Lesson: A singing teacher conducts a singing class but is thinking about her recently broken engagement to a young man.
12. The Stranger-A husband awaits the arrival of his wife from a cruise. A growing estrangement between the two is viewed from the authorial view.
13.Bank Holiday: A sketch of how people enjoy a day off from work.
14. An Ideal Family-An older businessman returns home from work and his wife and daughters and wastrel son.
15.The Lady's Maid-A faithful lady's maid recounts her life with her lady.
Mansfield writes well about everyday people and human situations. The stories have little plot and are character driven. Her descriptions of her native New Zealand especially the flora and fauna of the country are evocative. A nice collection by Penguin well worth the reading of this short 153 page book.
The fifteen stories -- actually, some are more "situations" than stories -- are marked by the contradictions and ambiguities of life. And by life's disappointments, in light of which the ephemeral joys are sweeter, more fervently sought and savored. Mansfield is sensitive to class distinctions and to feminist concerns without belaboring them. Half of the stories are set in New Zealand (where Mansfield grew up), and as a whole the stories are imbued with a sense of the colonialist standing on the periphery of things. Many take place by, or on, the sea. Love and death and loneliness propel the stories -- characteristic, of course, of much of literature, but rarely handled so deftly.
Mansfield has a distinctive voice. (One criticism might be that her style is quite similar throughout the book, although I would rather that than forced or jarring modulations.) She parcels out information in small doses, and she approaches her stories, or situations, obliquely. There are a few wonderfully lyrical passages and many fine touches, but overall the prose is a little agitated, somewhat urgent. Mansfield and her stories are not refined and polished, but neither is the Life she writes about.
Amazon is currently offering THE GARDEN PARTY on Kindle for free. Even so, there is good reason to get this Penguin Classics edition -- in addition to the fact that it is an actual book -- and that is for the excellent Introduction by Lorna Sage. Among other things, I learned that Mansfield and Virginia Woolf respected one another as female writers and enjoyed discussing literature together. But Woolf was put off by Mansfield and her strong, sensual personality. After she and her husband had had Mansfield to dinner, Woolf wrote in her diary: "We could both wish that ones first impression of K.M. was not that she stinks like a -- well civet cat that had taken to street walking."
Mansfield wrote most of the stories collected in THE GARDEN PARTY while battling the last stages of the tuberculosis that killed her. One of her biographers posits that she had been infected with the disease by D. H. Lawrence. Whether true or not, Katherine Mansfield was as strong and individuated a person as was Lawrence, and, to my mind, a more rewarding writer.
My first "longer length" Dickens but it won't be my last.
A long read but worth the time expended and certainly have no issues with this edition that was remarkably free of any "typos."
Another from the Boxall 1000 books list.