Friday, February 1

Delightful Discovery

A few weeks ago I was perusing some blogs and came across a familiar name: Katherine Mansfield. This is a name familiar only to the very outer reaches of my memory. I couldn't recall how I knew the name but I definitely knew it. (Maybe Mrs. Hyde's class from High School?) Anyway, it's familiarity piqued my interest but, rather than rushing out to buy one of her books, I found an available copy through Bookmooch. Someone was offering a book of short stories by KM called, simply, Stories. Cool! I promptly mooched it. About a week later I received my nice old copy of Stories in the mail. (I happen to really like older books as long as they are in good shape. It may be the dated artwork on the covers, I'm not sure, but this cover really made me happy.)

That night, before going to sleep, I picked up my "new" copy of Stories and flipped through it for a good story to try. I chose one called Bliss. It was FAB-U-LOUS. Why haven't I been reading Katherine Mansfield my whole life? She's wonderful. Bliss sort of reminded me of Fitzgerald but with a lovely feminine touch. I realize that's a big comparison but there you have it. I'm suddenly quite a short story fan. They're so perfect for my weary nightstand.

I've had Ms. Mansfield on my mind all week but it wasn't until this evening that I had a moment to look her up. Let's just say that any Wikipedia entry that includes words like "bohemian/bisexual, met, married and divorced in three weeks, pregnant from a family friend, miscarriage, gonnerhorea, depression, WWI, DH Lawrence, pleurisy and tuberculosis" will hook me like nobody's business. I am SOLD. I now heart Ms. Mansfield and am on a mission to learn more about her. She's exactly the kind of auntie I'd love to have. As if all of that isn't impressive enough, Virginia Woolf is said to have once claimed that Mansfield's writing was 'The only writing I have ever been jealous of'. Nice going Katherine! Well except for that unfortunate death. That's SO something I'd die of.

I guess more than anything I'm excited that I'm still capable of recognizing good writing. It's been years since school so, you know, you sometimes wonder if you've lost your touch. It was a bit of a relief.

So, my question to y'all is what other great writing am I missing out on? Any suggestions? Do tell!

1 comment:

shandon said...

Willa Cather and John Steinbeck. They really ARE as good as their reputations.