Friday, April 17, 2020

bluebells, katherine mansfield, the garden party and other stories, a creative writing given, a triumphant transgressor

The bluebells are in flower in the hedgerows. So delicate.

Holiday reading is Katherine Mansfield's short story collection, The Garden Party and other Stories (1922).

It's a creative writing given that in fiction you keep to one point of view per chapter or section. By the avoidance of switching perspectives part way through a scene you sustain its fictional integrity. A careless shift from one character's viewpoint to another bounces the reader out of the narrative's reality and makes it appear contrived.

Yet whenever there's a given, or a rule, there are those writers who do the opposite and make it work. In the case of this one, Katherine Mansfield is a triumphant transgressor, shifting between her characters' minds with sublime ease - and speed (sometimes bewildering enough to force you to stop and re-read and make sense). Interruptions to the flow of reading should exasperate or confound, but with Mansfield her intensely imagined worlds support you, re-imerse you and carry you forward.

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