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Stories

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4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  722 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Although Katherine Mansfield was closely associated with D.H. Lawrence and something of a rival of Virginia Woolf, her stories suggest someone writing in a different era and in a vastly different English. Her language is as transparent as clean glass, yet hovers on the edge of poetry. Her characters are passionate men and women swaddled in English reserve -- and sometimes ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published May 7th 1991 by Vintage (first published 1920)
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Nandakishore Varma
Katherine Mansfield is one of the accomplished masters of that most difficult of literary forms - the short story. Almost all of the 21 stories in this collection are outstanding examples of her art.

Mansfield is labelled as a modernist writer: her stories do not follow the classic narrative structure of a beginning, middle and end many a time. Sometimes, they do not tell a story in the traditional sense at all. They are, rather, mirrors held up to the nature of her characters - mostly young wome
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Nora Dillonovich
This has been one of my favorite books since I was a freshman in college... the stories are so lovely, so breathtaking. They remind me somewhat of Salinger, with its focus on a particular family in many of the tales. And like Woolf, there is a sense of melancholy and isolation, humanity as flawed and stumbling toward something, so clumsy and gangly, yet breathtakingly graceful in all it's failures.
Katie
May 02, 2012 Katie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
love this, from "The Daughters of the Late Colonel":
'Josephine had had a moment of absolute terror at the cemetery, while the coffin was lowered, to think that she and Constantia had done this thing without asking his permission. What would father say when he found out? For he was bound to find out sooner or later. He always did. "Buried. You two girls had me buried!" She heard his stick thumping. Oh, what would they say? What possible excuse could they make? It sounded such an appallingly hear
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Linda Hart
Feb 24, 2012 Linda Hart rated it it was amazing
She's not on the short list of outstanding female American short story writers for nothing. I read some of these vignettes in H.S. & college, and years later I thoroughly enjoyed becoming reacquainted with them, and will likely reread again. At the conclusion of each story/vignette I find myself thinking, "wait...don't just end it here as I'm becoming enthralled with the characters, the setting, and the mood. I want the rest of the story." Mansfield is concise, with every word skillfully cho ...more
Eric Hinkle
May 05, 2015 Eric Hinkle rated it it was amazing
“Short stories can be like photographs, catching people at some moment in their lives and trapping the memory for ever . There they are, smiling or frowning, looking sad, happy, serious, surprised ... And behind those smiles and those frowns lie all the experience of life, the fears and delights, the hopes and the dreams.”

Katherine Mansfield wrote some of the best short stories I've read. The majority of them are indeed rather photographic, or impressionistic, exploring the depths of the moment
...more
Amanda
Jun 23, 2014 Amanda rated it really liked it
Katherine Mansfield's short stories were originally published in the 1930s, and I found most of them surprisingly relevant and insightful despite antiquated settings. It seems that people don't change that much after all. It's easy to read several Mansfield stories in a row, because each story is a "day in the life" of an everyday person. Sometimes nothing really happens; other times there is a plot. Either way, the story is more about the small details. People in these stories don't usually exp ...more
Amy Wilder
Nov 16, 2009 Amy Wilder rated it it was amazing
Your lovely pear tree - pear tree - pear tree!
I just remember the striking impression these stories made on me. I hugged this book to my chest and carried it around for months.
I don't clearly recall most of the stories, just the mood of sadness, bitterness and yet, hope and mercy despite it, and beauty. Before Gatsby, this was MY green light.
Alina
May 08, 2017 Alina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have recently read a story, which was written by Katherine Mansfield and called “The Canary”. As ‘Good advice is rare than rubies’, which I have read before, this one belongs to the genre of social story and give an opportunity to readers to learn from the experience of others and to think about what we would do, if we were the main characters.
The actors in this story are a woman and her pet Canary but as memories of the past here also appears the star, with which the main character had talke
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Polina Kondrashkina
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vicki
Mar 30, 2008 Vicki rated it liked it
So I was inspired to pick this up after reading about Katherine Mansfield in Uncommon Arrangements. She was praised for the "economy" in her short stories. I understand that now. She clearly manages to convey more emotion and drama and character into 5 or 10 pages than some authors do within an entire novel. However, to some extent these stories date themselves a bit. The intro says how her characters are quintessential Englishmen and women who are pushed out of their comfort zones. But the more ...more
Terry
Jan 06, 2014 Terry rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Many years ago, when I went through a Giant Life Crisis, I found myself unable to read (or watch) anything at all except things that were totally unrelated to anything in my real life, so I ended up reading every single thing F. Scott Fitzgerald ever wrote. Despite the context of the times, it was a fantastic, absorbing, almost thrilling experience to just plunge into one writer's work and work my way through EVERYTHING, seeing threads and sly allusions and echoes of other works everywhere. Dazz ...more
Patrick Faller
Mar 31, 2011 Patrick Faller rated it really liked it
This sampling of Mansfield's most representative works contains one of the more compelling stories I've yet yet, "The Woman at the Store," which is a young woman's account of a night she and two male traveling companions spend in the care of an aging woman and her young daughter, both of whom have been abandoned by their husband and corrupted by the desolate lives they lead alone on the prairie. No story, with perhaps the exception of Charles D'Ambrosio's "Her Real Name," has struck me as powerf ...more
Phillip
Oct 23, 2012 Phillip rated it liked it
We read four of Mansfield's stories for my British Modernism class. A couple of them I really liked--"The Garden Party" for instance is an incredible short story, and "The Late Colonel's Daughters" was another really good one--but "Prelude" really threw me off. I don't know what it was about the story, but I found it hard to follow what was going on and why. Admittedly Mansfield is a High Modernist (though a minor one in the current canon configuration), so her work has the same kind of fracture ...more
Tom Hanrahan
Jan 14, 2011 Tom Hanrahan rated it did not like it
Read "Prelude."

My inspiration to read this story came while reading "Evan Shipman at the Lilas" in "A Moveable Feast." In the story, Hemingway says, "... before we had ever come to Paris, I had been told Katherine Mansfield was a good short-story writer, even a great short story writer, but trying to read her after Chekov was like hearing the careful artificial tales of a young old-maid compared to those of an articulate and knowing physician who was a good and simple writer. Mansfield was like
...more
South Orange Library
Manfield’s stories usually grab your attention in the first few lines. Her characters say things like: “One may as well rot here as anywhere else.” Or: “When I am my mother’s age, I shall be content to sit in the sun and shell peas into a basin.”

Many are stories of the marriage relationship which reflect the author’s own fear of abandonment and betrayal, her jealousies, and her guilt about being an invalid. She died of TB at age 34.

I will want to read anything she wrote but a few of these storie
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Faith
Feb 17, 2011 Faith rated it liked it
So far I have read Prelude, which was REALLY boring and has no character development...it also did not have likable characters. Not the makings of a great story. Hoping the next stories I read are better.

update: I read At the Bay, Six Years After, The Man Without a Temperament, The Garden Party, Bliss, and Marriage a La Mode. My favorite was Bliss. I love what Mansfield does with nature. Even while the human interactions are imperfect, nature stands unmoved, a constant in the characters lives wh
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Marcos
Jul 29, 2011 Marcos rated it it was amazing
Not every story is crafted to perfection, but stories such as "I Don't Speak French Well", and "The Garden Party" or even "Prelude" are all well executed and disturbing depictions of human cruelty among the frail and weak. Her style is reminiscent of peers such as DH Lawrence and Elizabeth Bowen, of that high Modernist style in which narratives are rather fragmented and distorted rather than straightforward. But the irony is that Ms. Mansfield chooses to be more straightforward in her narrative, ...more
Brandy
Feb 28, 2014 Brandy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It took a year for me to get through this. There's a few stories here which are gems. I loved "A Modern Soul." Others were beyond a chore to get through. I like to consider myself a real trooper when it comes to books. Up for anything, like almost everything. I die a little inside every time someone says a book bored them. But this one did. Oh how it did.

Bottom line: If you are a huge fan of Gertrude Stein and modernist writing then this book is probably for you. If that is not your most favorit
...more
Joanna
May 13, 2011 Joanna rated it liked it
What I take away from this collection of short stories, more than anything, is how some things never change. There’s a timelessness to the characters, themes, and situations that make you forget that the stories were written a hundred years ago (words like “brougham” and “petticoat” notwithstanding). Many of the stories have a “day in the life” type feel to them, emphasizing the small, fleeting moments in a person’s life.
Kallie
Jan 08, 2016 Kallie rated it liked it
I am in the process of reading this book and my feelings are so mixed, I've almost stopped at times. Some of the characters' voices are so annoying I nearly quit the book (and it's strange because I had read her before and didn't feel that way). I suppose that is Ms. Mansfield parodying but I'm not sure. I just read 'The Man without a Temperament' and liked it very much so I guess I'll continue but not expect to like every story.
Sophia Messinezi
Apr 26, 2015 Sophia Messinezi rated it it was amazing
An excellent sample of modernist writing. Through her short stories, Mansfield achieved to delve into the psyche of her characters and write stories that consider relationships, unspoken truths and the whirlwind that is the human mind and emotion, all with riveting endings that leave you pondering them after you've flipped the last page.
Lynnell
Jun 15, 2008 Lynnell rated it really liked it
I discovered Mansfield teaching the second half of British Literature this spring and was immediately struck with: Where has this author been all my life?? Finely drawn portraits of the domestic scene, which though set in early 20th century New Zealand, primarily, are terrifically modern in their sensibility.
Erin Quinney
Jul 12, 2015 Erin Quinney rated it really liked it
I love short stories and this is an excellent collection. I had never heard of Katherine Mansfield until I read a list of book recommendations by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He's brilliant. Of course I'm going to read what he thought was great. Mansfield did not disappoint.

I'm on to another book on the list--Manhattan Transfer.
Carolyn
Feb 25, 2008 Carolyn rated it it was amazing
One of the few book that I will always keep on my bookshelf to be read over and over. Katherine Mansfield is extremely under-rated. I find this collection of short stories endearing and charming. I loved these stories so much that I wanted to name my daughter Kezia (a character that Katherine wrote about to represent herself).
Sarah
Aug 23, 2007 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Katherine Mansfield is wonderful. Although she is often compared to Anton Chekhov, I find her works to be more stimulating and less obvious. She writes with sharp corners and then goes back with an eraser to dull the edges, leaving the reader to interpret the work-- the way good writing should!
Tse Guang
Aug 29, 2012 Tse Guang rated it really liked it
So I finally finished this collection of short stories.

Mansfield's eye takes in beauty and horror in equal measure, and she is a master at creating a sense of unease and discomfort in the most mundane of things. She conveys early 20th century anomie with great subtlety.
Leng
Aug 12, 2016 Leng rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fav-books
This is one of my favorite collection of short stories. Written in an era where women is 2nd class citizens and limited in options, Mansfield's female characters always have a forceful point of view, and thankfully, her characters trials and tribulations are not restricted to romantic pursuits!
Sarah
Dec 30, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it
Beautiful collection of stories. While some are harder, at least for me, to get into, they're all well-crafted examinations of characters. There were definitely stories where I could see the modern-day equivalents of some of the people in her stories around me.
Gary Lee
Jan 03, 2009 Gary Lee rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
"The Man Without a Temperament" is one of the most beautiful short stories I have read in a long time. If not ever.
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Opinion 1 2 May 02, 2017 01:08PM  
  • The Collected Stories
  • The Complete Shorter Fiction of Virginia Woolf
  • Saints and Strangers
  • Collected Stories
  • Selected Short Stories
  • On the Golden Porch
  • Tiny Deaths
  • The Secret Rose: Love Poems by W.B. Yeats
  • The Celestial Railroad and Other Stories
  • The Ends Of The Earth: 14 Stories
  • Christmas Stories
  • The Word Book
  • The Secret Sharer and other stories
  • Sea Garden
  • The Complete Stories
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Kathleen Mansfield Murry was a prominent New Zealand modernist writer of short fiction who wrote under the pen name of Katherine Mansfield.

Katherine Mansfield is widely considered one of the best short story writers of her period. A number of her works, including "Miss Brill", "Prelude", "The Garden Party", "The Doll's House", and later works such as "The Fly", are frequently collected in short st
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“Dark girls, fair girls were patting their hair, tying ribbons again, tucking handkerchiefs down the fronts of their bodices, smoothing marble-white gloves. And because they were all laughing it seemed to Leila that they were all lovely.” 3 likes
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