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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Garden Party and Other Stories, 26 Feb. 2011
This review is from: The Garden Party and Other Stories (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
If you like Penelope Lively or Tracy Chevalier, chances are you will love Katherine Mansfield's stories.

The Garden Party is a collection of captivating short stories about life in the early 20th century. The author is a painter with words - she beautifully captures the colours, textures and atmosphere of the places and people she writes about, encapsulating a beauty and tranquillity that existed before the technological age; yet her stories are in no way sentimental. On the contrary, there is an edgy, almost surreal quality about them, and they seem to loiter at the fragile limits of concrete experience and human equanimity. They tap into real human feelings, never presuming to analyse fully, but only to understand with deep empathy the concerns, wishes, hopes and dreams that flow through our lives. Mansfield crafts each story with care - though seamlessly - and so each one satisfies the reader by having a theme, a development of it, and a resolution (even if this is an emotional state rather than a dramatic event). Finally, I wouldn't want you to assume that these stories are dreamy or passive. There are also some powerful and dramatic elements, so that reading them can be an emotionally intense experience.

Katherine Mansfield, who as a short-story writer has been compared to Chekhov, died at the age of 34 and does not seem to be as well recognised today as she fully deserves. Somehow the poignancy of her early death seems to be presaged in the numinous quality of these stories. There often seems to be a gently hovering question mark: it there a meta-narrative - some higher reality? But Mansfield's answer is to create a richer experience of the 'here and now' of her time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's all a part of growing up., 17 Mar. 2014
By 
Carol (Torrevieja, Spain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Garden Party and Other Stories (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Her First Ball. Katherine Mansfield.
This is one of fifteen stories taken from The Garden Party and Other Stories written in 1921 and published the following year.Penguin.ISBN:9780141441801.
I vaguely remember the girlish excitement of applying the warpaint, donning the shortest of minis and the highest of heels to my father's displeasure at my tarty attire, heading down to the Mecca or Cinderella Rockerfellow's (one of Pete Stringfellow's clubs) in Leeds, during the 60s and early 70s.Nostalgia seen in Before You Were Mine by Carol Ann Duffy, poet laureate, replicated.
The connection? Dancing, having fun, being irresponsible. Wasn't it wonderful? Mansfield recaptures that excitement, particularly for Leila a village recluse who has not experienced the pleasure of ballroom dancing before and the old-time professionals who dance on a weekly basis.
I certainly engaged with an 18 year old naive girl with her trepidation, excitement, disappointment and elation at her first ball. Every moment was pure magic for Leila. This was a world of innocence swirling around on the dance floor reaching dizzy heights of breathlessness. No wonder my parents' generations loved dancing. They knew how to have fun in spite of the war or rationing.
Experiencing something magical for the first time will always be powerful and memorable so it's not surprising that Leila is overawed. The atmosphere is electric, the scene pretty and colourful, the ladies' room overflowing with the belles of the ball applying last minute touches to their beautiful attire and unblemished make-up. Vanity at its best or worst? You decide.
These were the days of chaperones and programmes with men having to book dances with the girls. This was about gliding and swirling with elegance not your modern Dirty Dancing, provocative and sexually gratifying. Elegance with lots of fun thrown in.
After all the excitement, a fat bald man who had been carrying his partners away on a whirlpool of dances for over thirty years, destroyed Leila's illusion; her bubble burst and she was overcome by sadness and misery. She wanted to go home.
"Was this first ball only the beginning of her last ball?
Even the music seemed plaintive and a disappointed 18 year old turns philosopher with " Why didn't happiness last forever? " Transitory ,Leila. We knew that didn't we? It's all a part of growing up, isn't it? Leaving childhood and fun behind.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great stories shame about the typos, 26 April 2012
I absolutely love these stories. It is such a shame there are so many appalling typographical errors in the Kindle version of the text though. They really affect the reader's ability to enjoy and appreciate the elegant and witty prose.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crisp and vivid, 1 Nov. 2011
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S. R. Starr "Bookrover" (Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Garden Party and Other Stories (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
in her short life Kaherine Mansfield became a master of the crisp, vivd short story, and this is arguably her best collection. Although written a hundred years ago, her use of language cuts directly to us today. thoroughly enjoyable.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Garden Party and Other Stories by Katherine mansfield, 12 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: The Garden Party and Other Stories (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
I love her work. She is a brilliant writer. I have been studying how she gets the effect of drawing you in to the stories and making the characters so real. Gorgeous imagery.
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The Garden Party and Other Stories (Penguin Classics)
The Garden Party and Other Stories (Penguin Classics) by Lorna Sage (Paperback - 29 Mar. 2007)
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