The fifteen stories collected in this volume demonstrate the genius of a woman who, in her own short lifetime, was compared to Chekhov. The tales are sensitive revelations of human behavior in ordinary situations. 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.
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