I was pretty surprised when I got my hands on The Garden Party. I was looking for a book to complete the What’s in a Name? 3 Challenge, but I wanted something that was also on the 1001 books list so that I could kill a few birds with one stone. I settled on Katherine Mansfield’s The Garden Party and was off to the library.
Imagine my surprise when I found the “book” in the YA section. I had to scour the section, finally realizing I kept missing the book because it was the width of a children’s book! I know the 1001 books list contains a few “books” that are also more like short stories (namely, several of Edgar Allan Poe’s works); nonetheless, I’m still surprised that The Garden Party was included.
Coming in at slightly under 40 pages (in large font), The Garden Party is more of a short story. It’s about a wealthy girl who is throwing her first party, and begins with her directing workers where to put all the decorations and such. Before the party begins, the family learns that a working class man has died just down the road. The girl is disturbed by the news and wants to cancel the party. More than anything else, the ensuing events reveal the attitudes of the wealthy towards the working class.
I wasn’t terribly impressed with the story, although it is apparently hailed as one of Mansfield’s finest. If you have a nook or a Kindle, you can get a collection of Mansfield’s stories–including The Garden Party–for free through Barnes & Noble and Amazon.