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arbieroo

Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Nonlinear Time Series Analysis
Thomas Schreiber, Holger Kantz
Progress: 29/320 pages
The Politics of Neurodiversity: Why Public Policy Matters
Dana Lee Baker
Progress: 9/239 pages
Ursula K. Le Guin: Hainish Novels and Stories, Vol. 1: Rocannon's World / Planet of Exile / City of Illusions / The Left Hand of Darkness / The Dispossessed / Stories (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 440/1100 pages
Life and Letters of Charles Darwin - Volume 1: By Charles Darwin - Illustrated
Charles Darwin
Progress: 332/346 pages
Basics of Plasma Astrophysics
Claudio Chiuderi, Marco Velli
Progress: 58/250 pages
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena / Stories and Songs (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 359/700 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 110/1102 pages
The Complete Plays and Poems
E.D. Pendry, J.C. Maxwell, Christopher Marlowe
She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies (Oxford World's Classics)
Henry Fielding, David Garrick, Oliver Goldsmith
Progress: 76/448 pages

Selected Stories, Katherine Mansfield

Selected Stories - Katherine Mansfield

There seem to be two schools of thought regarding what makes a great short story. (There may be more - tell me about them if you can think of any.) I'm going to call them the Bradbury School and the Chekov School. I was brought up to love the Bradbury School where-in the perfect short story tells a story and has a remarkable ending that might be a revelation or plot twist or unexpected action or possibly even an ambiguous cliff-hanger. The absolute best of these will have a crucial and memorable final sentence.

 

Then there's the Chekov School in which the ideal is for absolutely nothing to happen, no plot, no surprise ending, just an excruciating description of minutiae from the perspective of a usually dull or unpleasant character. Implication is everything.

Well, as you may have already guessed, I hate the Chekov School and Mansfield falls heavily into this camp. So heavily that it took most of her life to claw her way back onto her knees and stretch one hand out towards the Bradbury School before she died, depressingly young, from tuberculosis.

 

In this entire collection there are fewer then five stories that I really liked and they are concentrated near the beginning and end of what is a chronologically ordered selection. In those few stories we see not only acute perception of character but also hatred of class division and snobbery. Most of this book was masochistic torture and the few reasonable quality items were no compensation.