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The Garden Party and Other Stories

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  6,292 ratings  ·  494 reviews
Written during the final stages of her illness, "The Garden Party and Other Stories" is full of a sense of urgency and was Katherine Mansfield's last collection to be published during her lifetime. The fifteen stories featured, many of them set in her native New Zealand, vary in length and tone from the opening story, "At the Bay, " a vivid impressionistic evocation of ...more
Paperback, 159 pages
Published January 1st 1998 by Penguin Classics (first published 1922)
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Violet wells
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Piazza del Duomo is my least favourite place in Florence. I always hurry through it. Probably San Marco (except at four in the morning) and St Peters are my least favourite places in, respectively, Venice and Rome so I guess I just don’t respond very well to the grandiose. I prefer what’s smaller, more secret, more ostensibly self-effacing. A criticism often levelled at Katherine Mansfield’s stories are that they are small things, limited in scope. Lawrence in Women in Love famously depicted her ...more
Steven Godin
Considering Katherine Mansfield was stricken with tuberculosis at the time of writing this collection, you simply wouldn't believe that to be the case whilst indulging in her gorgeous prose. I imagine her, pen in hand, under clear blues skies, relaxed in a tranquil garden, with various birds singing a joyful tune, whilst the distant sound of the sea caressing the shore, cool and calmly creating a scene of such bliss. When in all likelihood she was cooped up in bed feeling terrible. Most writers ...more
Lisa
And as I got this collection from my son for Christmas, I had to let it jump the queue.

As it rushed past the pile of waiting, bitterly frustrated heavy and important novels, it winked cheerfully. What is it to a Katherine Mansfield short story that other books, in my possession for decades, have an important message to deliver? After all, she delights by pointing at the small, private gestures and parallel existences without judging either more than necessary.

A successful garden party
...more
Dolors
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Do you appreciate good writing?
Recommended to Dolors by: Violet wells
Shelves: read-in-2017
I could probably list like twenty good literary reasons to pick any of Mansfield’s collection of short stories; her prowess as a writer, her life experiences, which probably served as inspiration for many of her tales, the strong resemblance of her modern narrative outline with Chekov’s, the subtle portrayal of the quotidian as a still frame for social stereotyping and gender roles, her acute observations and insights into the human psyche… but I will stop here because I believe all those ...more
kohey
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is always a joyful occasion for me to meet an author whose words and phrases I cherish and reflect on in my mind.
I’m truly amazed at her imagination to capture every little moments in life,and to turn the unimaginable into the tangible through her sensitive and sometimes curious eyes.Fifteen short stories contained here are only an extension of mundane,everyday life,but it shows us a good indication of how colorful,passionate,and tragic our life can become under a great writer.I highly
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
714. The Garden Party, Katherine Mansfield
The Garden Party, is a 1922 short story by Katherine Mansfield. The wealthy Sheridan family prepares to host a garden party. Laura is charged with instructing the workers on the placement of the marquee. Her haughty air quickly disintegrates into an intimidated admiration for the workingmen, with whom she feels a personal connection. Laura's mother, Mrs. Sheridan, has ordered masses of lilies, to both their delight. Laura's sister Jose tests the piano,
...more
Jan-Maat
I wondered as I read, Mansfield seemed to be somewhere between Chekhov and Kafka, but I only see tuberculosis linking the three. Short fragments of an emotional life revealed. Have you ever seen the mirror scene from Duck Soup? I picture Virgina Woolf and Katherine Mansfield like that the same, but different, but one maybe clinging to an idealised lost mother, the other keen to escape, the mirror in fragments.

In the face of death, which in a variety of flavours seems present in all these stories
...more
Agnieszka

Some of these stories feel more like impressions or sketches, seconds caught in one precise moment. The young protagonist from Her first ball, like the title itself implies, attends her very first ball, she’s excited and a little nervous, and observing dancers experiences disturbing thought: was this first ball only the beginning of the her last ball after all ?

Eponymous Miss Brill is a middle-aged woman spending her leisure time in park observing other people, considering it as a kind of play
...more
Lynne King
When I was going through my “Bloomsbury period” about twenty years ago, I read everything I could about the “central members”, and as a consequence Katherine Mansfield came into the equation through being a friend of Virginia Woolf. I read biographies about the former which I loved as she appeared to be such an interesting and gifted person; and I particularly enjoyed the biography by Antony Alpers which delves into many other aspects of her somewhat short tragic life, including “her final ...more
Paul Bryant
Mar 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories

I read that D H Lawrence once wrote to Katherine Mansfield

You are a loathsome reptile - I hope you will die.

(Thank you, Lynne). Ah, the people I have often wished to say the same thing to! (Not you, of course, never you!) But I am not made of such stern stuff as DH. Anyhow, I did not think Miss Mansfield was a loathsome reptile. Quite the reverse – she was a beautiful reptile. She had a cool gaze which swept insight and judgement over this human race of ours, the parts that she knew anyway,
...more
Marchpane
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tender and understated, the stories in The Garden Party and Other Stories are like little studies in empathy. It has a bit of an ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ vibe in that many of the stories are about well-off, genteel families, while others give a glimpse into the lives of their servants, or poorer neighbours. Mansfield seems mostly interested in the secret hurts people carry within themselves; there’s a vulnerable quality to each of her characters – whether it be a shy nervousness, pangs of regret ...more
Helle
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
(3.5 stars) Katherine Mansfield creates stories set in a small, narrow world in which the details of life seem to be blown all out of proportion, at least to the sensibilities of a (this) modern reader. On the other hand, the same details take on a curious kind of importance in her stories precisely because they are singled out; it’s as if they are encased in glass for readers to gaze at and contemplate precisely because of their minuteness, which puts them in the very foreground of life for our ...more
Christmas Carol ꧁꧂
It was time for me to revisit the work of my favourite New Zealand author, Katherine Mansfield.

KM wrote the way an Impressionist painter painted -with deft paint strokes she painted her world. Plagued with ill health, her life was cut tragically short, dying at Fountainbleau when aged only 34. This collection of short stories,published just before her death, contain some of her finest work.

At the Bay.

One of the stories set in NZ with a fictionalised version of KMs family. Crescent Beach is Days
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I read some Katherine Mansfield during my year of reading Oceania, since she is from New Zealand, and knew I needed to read more. This set of stories is from the end of her life, the same era as the years right after the first world war. The endings are often obscure, and would make for great discussion in a group.

Another element of Mansfield's stories that I really like is that the NZ landscape is always present. The first story, "At the Bay," really highlights this on a coastal sheep farm
...more
Christy B
Oh, Katherine Mansfield, where have you been all my life?

I'm no expert on this type of writing, but I know beautiful stuff when I read it. With 15 stories crammed into this small volume, I felt immensely involved with the characters of all of them. To me, none of the stories had a real beginning, nor end. It was as though you were just plopped into a certain character's life on just any old day and were observing them. You witnessed their emotions, listened to their thoughts and sometimes
...more
Maxwell
Katherine Mansfield's writing is very sharp. She is extremely attuned to human nature, to the pitfalls and pressures of society and its standards. In her stories there is almost always something left unsaid, an elephant in the room, that only the reader can see—or that the characters are unwilling to acknowledge. That being said, some of the stories did feel a bit lacking for me. It took me a while to adjust to her storytelling, which meant quite a few stories left me scratching my head. But ...more
Betsy Robinson
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: John Cheever and Shirley Jackson fans, people interested in early twentieth century upper crust life
Recommended to Betsy by: Dolors
Katherine Mansfield lived from 1888 to 1923, but she would have been revolutionary in any era, and she is an obvious predecessor to John Cheever and Shirley Jackson in their tradition of exposing the underbelly of families and working men. This collection of fifteen stories and sketches illustrates class differences and tensions in 1910s–'20s Europe, and Mansfield manages to straddle the shallowness culturally required of women in the time and what lies underneath it. (Don't read the preface ...more
Roman Clodia
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I somehow hadn't read Mansfield before, confusing her in my head with Elizabeth Bowen... From this book of short stories, she's a writer interested in small but illuminating moments in a life: a young woman coming face-to-face with death for the first time (The Garden Party); another young woman at her first ball who suddenly gets a glimpse of what her future might be (Her First Ball); the schoolteacher whose lesson covers over her fraught emotions roused by a letter from her fiancé (The Singing ...more
Julie
7.5/10

KM's writing is as fresh and inspiring as a newly opened flower on a summer morning, especially following hard on the heels of Patrick White's Voss, but sometimes she leaves the reader wondering ... "Well, what was the point of that?". She leaves me in such a state at least half the time, it seems to me, that it would be hard to ever list her among my favourite writers.

While some of her stories exceed the 10/10 review, there are just not enough of them. She is a too uneven a writer for my
...more
Sarah
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Katherine Mansfield writes short stories with zest and resonance. This collection includes stories with settings in New Zealand (where she lived as a child and adolescent), the French Riviera and England. Themes include life, death, class, illusion and reality. She writes with a distinctive style and conveys complex truths and thoughts with deceptive simplicity.

The characters in each story all have a suggestive isolation from each other. Some stories are tinged with a critical, teasing and
...more
Duane
I'm so excited because I've discovered a new writer, at least new to me, and I will look forward to many wonderful hours of reading as I work my way through the rest of Mansfield's collections. If The Garden Party and Other Stories is any indication, Katherine Mansfield was a master at wriiting short stories. Born in New Zealand but moved to England, she was friends with D.H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf. Like the Bronte's, she lived a short but productive literary life. She died of an illness in ...more
Anthea Syrokou
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“She had become really quite expert, she thought, at listening as though she didn't listen, at sitting in other people's lives just for a minute while they talked round her.” — Katherine Mansfield


This was such a beautiful, thought-provoking read. The reader is invited to live in many different lives through the perceptions and thoughts of the many interesting characters that appeared in each short story. Katherine Mansfield was a writer from New Zealand who also lived in London and Paris and
...more
Alison
Mar 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This will not be a terribly thoughtful review, just an expression of excitement. I don’t know how I got this far in my life without anybody telling me what a wonderful writer Katherine Mansfield was. She was a master of the modern short story. When I consider most of the 20C short story collections I’ve read, I think that Mansfield got there first, and did it better. And there was a terrible moment when I saw why Virginia Woolf felt so threatened by her, because, if I’d read the book with no ...more
Yoana
This review was written as I read along, so there's no structure to it. It's a recording of my impressions and thoughts throughout the reading process. My general thoughts about the collection as a whole are at the end.

At the Bay *****
Mansfield is an incomparable master of language. She uses it as a brush. She has this magical power to evoke crystal clear mental images in the reader's head and a thorough submergence in the atmosphere in her heart, all accomplished by means of a few brush
...more
Will Ansbacher
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
If the laser had been invented in the 1920’s, it would surely have been used to describe these sharp and perceptive short stories.

The title story isn’t actually the best of them, but is still a clever study of an upper-class event that’s overshadowed by a working-class death in a cottage nearby.

At the Bay is my favourite, and the only one long enough to be divided into sections. It’s a brilliant tone poem describing one day in a summer village and the residents’ interactions, inner monologues
...more
Connie G
The Garden Party and Other Stories was written as modernist Katherine Mansfield was battling tuberculosis, and this is her last book of short stories. The stories show a slice of life with ambiguous endings which leave the reader thinking about the character's next move. The short stories are about class differences, gender roles, social interactions, couple dynamics, family relationships, isolation, coming of age, and death. Here's a few thoughts about the fifteen stories in this collection:

"At
...more
Alysia
Jan 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favourites were The Garden Party, Marriage A La Mode, The Stranger, Her First Ball, and Miss Brill. One of the best collections of short stories I have read.
Amalie
Jun 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-story
This is my first reading of a collection of short stories by Katherine Mansfield. While back I read "The Garden Party" which was amazing but not in an extraordinary way. It did not stress on the dramatization of the story or the completeness of the plot.

After reading the collection it's very clear that is a characteristic of her tales. She's not concerned with clever play on words or creating outrageous situations for her characters, rather concerned with expression of feelings. Her plot was
...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life
RATING: 4 STARS
1922 (reissued AUGUST 9, 2016); Ecco/HarperCollins
(Review Not on Blog)

I have probably read Mansfield before in high school or university but I cannot remember at this point. At least, the stories in this novel did not spark a connection. Yet, Mansfield's writing feels familiar. I really enjoy the way she brings characters to life and gives the reader a sense of the time and place where these characters live. I read this book over two days picking it up when I had short spurts to
...more
Claire Fuller
So many stories to love in this collection. I especially enjoyed The Daughters of the Late Colonel, Miss Brill, and The Singing Lessons. Mansfield wrote so well about crowds and noise and activity, and I loved how many of these stories ended, often quite abruptly mid-scene and on a question of how things might continue.
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Kathleen Mansfield Murry (née Beauchamp) 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
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“Isn't life,' she stammered, 'isn't life--' But what life was she couldn't explain. No matter. He quite understood.

'Isn't it, darling?' said Laurie.”
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“You are a Queen. Let mine be the joy of giving you your kingdom.” 13 likes
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