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'And again, as always, he had the feeling he was holding something that never was quite his - his. Something too delicate, too precious, that would fly away once he let go.' Three sharp and powerful short stories from Katherine Mansfield, one of the genre's all-time masters. 'And again, as always, he had the feeling he was holding something that never was quite his - his. Something too delicate, too precious, that would fly away once he let go.' Three sharp and powerful short stories from Katherine Mansfield, one of the genre's all-time masters.


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'And again, as always, he had the feeling he was holding something that never was quite his - his. Something too delicate, too precious, that would fly away once he let go.' Three sharp and powerful short stories from Katherine Mansfield, one of the genre's all-time masters. 'And again, as always, he had the feeling he was holding something that never was quite his - his. Something too delicate, too precious, that would fly away once he let go.' Three sharp and powerful short stories from Katherine Mansfield, one of the genre's all-time masters.

30 review for Miss Brill (Penguin Little Black Classics, #72)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Petra-X Off having adventures

    Pride comes before a fall, or so the saying goes. Miss Brill, the pompous and condescending old lady finds this out when she is seen as one of those weirdo eccentrics who sit in the park and talk to themselves. And she suddenly realises her place in the world. Good story, well told, very sad. I hope it doesn't happen to me. Pride comes before a fall, or so the saying goes. Miss Brill, the pompous and condescending old lady finds this out when she is seen as one of those weirdo eccentrics who sit in the park and talk to themselves. And she suddenly realises her place in the world. Good story, well told, very sad. I hope it doesn't happen to me.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Duane

    It's difficult for me to describe why I love Katherine Mansfield's short stories so much. Their vibrations fit my vibrations I guess. This story has a simple premise, one identifiable character (Miss Brill), in a park setting, for one short afternoon. Yet Mansfield, in a few short pages bares the soul of this woman. Miss Brill is the Eleanor Rigby of short stories. It's difficult for me to describe why I love Katherine Mansfield's short stories so much. Their vibrations fit my vibrations I guess. This story has a simple premise, one identifiable character (Miss Brill), in a park setting, for one short afternoon. Yet Mansfield, in a few short pages bares the soul of this woman. Miss Brill is the Eleanor Rigby of short stories.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    Whilst I enjoyed the short stories in here, I was surprised that Bliss wasn’t included. It is her most renowned short story and, perhaps, her best one because it shows us the power of an unreliable narrator in a memorable way. I don’t think this edition is very helpful to those looking for an introduction to Mansfield, I’d recommend starting with Bliss. The main story in here is called Miss Brill, and the character, Miss Brill, has built herself a little bubble to protect herself from reality; Whilst I enjoyed the short stories in here, I was surprised that Bliss wasn’t included. It is her most renowned short story and, perhaps, her best one because it shows us the power of an unreliable narrator in a memorable way. I don’t think this edition is very helpful to those looking for an introduction to Mansfield, I’d recommend starting with Bliss. The main story in here is called Miss Brill, and the character, Miss Brill, has built herself a little bubble to protect herself from reality; she has created a little fantasy life that is crumbling around her as her loneliness pushes in. She eavesdrops on people in the park and imagines future conversations with them that she will never have. She tries so hard to continue with her life, though she, ultimately, realises that she has been rejected by those around her: she is alone. “Yes, I have been an actress for a long time. Miss Brill is, indeed, a sad creature. She has practically detached herself from her own emotions; she seems unaware that it is, in fact, her crying at the destitute that is her life. She just doesn’t perceive that it’s herself. So this is a deeply felt little tale of woe. That being said though, Bliss is a much better short story. It is one you have to read a multitude of times to get the full effect and fully comprehend the remarkability of it. So, if you’re interested in Mansfield I’d start there. Penguin Little Black Classic- 72 The Little Black Classic Collection by penguin looks like it contains lots of hidden gems. I couldn’t help it; they looked so good that I went and bought them all. I shall post a short review after reading each one. No doubt it will take me several months to get through all of them! Hopefully I will find some classic authors, from across the ages, that I may not have come across had I not bought this collection.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Liz Janet

    The main story here is the story of a lady that spends her time listening into people’s conversations as she sits in the park, and then she begins creating her own imaginary world as her loneliness becomes more evident. In the end, it is a tale of isolation, and it made me quite sad to think of poor Miss Brill in her bench, and how some people in the story make fun of her. Karma is not nice. .......................................... This book was read for the #readwomen month. My favourite of he The main story here is the story of a lady that spends her time listening into people’s conversations as she sits in the park, and then she begins creating her own imaginary world as her loneliness becomes more evident. In the end, it is a tale of isolation, and it made me quite sad to think of poor Miss Brill in her bench, and how some people in the story make fun of her. Karma is not nice. .......................................... This book was read for the #readwomen month. My favourite of her stories (Bliss) was not shown here, that one would have definitely put this short collection into the four-stars range. The main story here is about an old lady and how the fantasy world she has created is caving around her as her loneliness seeps through. It is about her finding her place in the world after being judgmental of everyone else. A brilliant warning piece.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Hossein Sharifi

    Summary Although the day was warm, Miss Brill was happy she had decided to wear her fur. She had taken it out that morning for the first time all season, brushing its coat and polishing its eyes. She enjoyed the way its sad eyes looked up at her and how soft the fur was. Miss Brill called it “little rogue” and liked how its head tickled her behind the ear. She was so happy she thought about putting the fur on her lap and stroking it. هرچند هوا گرم بود اما دوشیزه بریل خوشحال بود تصمیم گرفته بود که Summary Although the day was warm, Miss Brill was happy she had decided to wear her fur. She had taken it out that morning for the first time all season, brushing its coat and polishing its eyes. She enjoyed the way its sad eyes looked up at her and how soft the fur was. Miss Brill called it “little rogue” and liked how its head tickled her behind the ear. She was so happy she thought about putting the fur on her lap and stroking it. هرچند هوا گرم بود اما دوشیزه بریل خوشحال بود تصمیم گرفته بود که خَز بپوشه. بعد از مدتها اون رو درآورده بود و بهش رسیده بود. Sitting on her usual bench at the Jardins Publiques, a public local garden, Miss Brill adjusted her fur and watched all of the people around her while a band played nearby. There were more people than usual and the band was playing beautifully to entertain them. Miss Brill liked to watch all of the people and listen to their conversations, without them knowing she was listening in. She had perfected a technique of looking uninterested in her surroundings but in reality she was an avid observer of life at the gardens. بریل جای همیشگیش توی یک پارک نشسته و داره خز رو تنظیم میکنه روی شونش و مردم دارن نگاهش میکنن. همونجا هم یک گروه موسیقی در حال نواختنه. مردم از همیشه بیشتر اند و گروه داره قشنگ آهنگ میزنه. بریل دوست داره که یواشکی به مردم نگاه کنه و حرفاشون رو گوش بده. اون تو این تکنیکی که خودش رو بی تفاوت نشون بده اما در حقیقت حواسش به همه جا باشه استاده. An old couple sat near her but they were not very entertaining and sat as still as statues. She watched the crowd as they passed as she did every Sunday, no matter the season. Miss Brill came to realize that nearly all of the people she observed at the gardens on Sundays were somewhat odd. They had a pale look about them, as if they had all been hiding in cupboards and were only now coming out for fresh air. یک زوج مسن کنارش میشنن ولی اصا سرگم کننده نیستن. بیشتر مث مجسمه می مونن. اون به جمعیت نگاه میکنه که مثل همیشه هر شنبه از جلوش رد میشن و مهم نیس که چه فصلی باشه. بریل می فهمه که هرکسی رو توی پارک شنبه ها میبینه یه جوری عجیب غریبه. همشون رنگاشون پریده است انگار یه جا گیر کردن و الان برای هوای تازه اومدن بیرون. Behind the band’s rotunda Miss Brill had a perfect view of the sea, a beautiful backdrop to the stories unfolding before her. Two girls walked past and were joined by two soldiers. A woman with a straw hat ambled by with a donkey. An attractive woman went past, dropping her flowers. A young boy stopped her and gave her back the bouquet but the woman tossed them down again. Miss Brill wasn’t sure what to make of that. پشت گروه موسیقی، بریل نمای خوبی از دریا می بینه. دوتا دختر میبینه که به دوتا سرباز ملحق میشن و با اونا دور میشن. یک زن رو میبینه با کلاه حصیری و یک خر که با هم راه میرن. یک پسر جوان جلوی اون زن رو میگیره و اون دسته گلی که روی زمین انداخته رو بهش میده ولی اون دوباره پرتش میکنه روی زمین. بریل هم نمیدونه به چه نتیجه ای میرسه با این. Another woman wearing an ermine toque appeared with a gentleman. Although the woman was trying very hard to keep the man’s attention, he blew smoke rings in her face and then left her behind. The band seemed to sense her mood and played more softly. Eventually the woman left and an old man appeared bobbing his head to the music. Four girls almost knocked him over and Miss Brill was thrilled with them all. یک زن دیگه رو میبینه که یه مدل خز پوشیده و با شوهرشه. هرچند که زن داره خیلی سعی میکنه که حواس مرد رو جمع کنه اما مرده دود سیگار رو فوت میکنه تو صورت زن و اون رو عقب جا میزاره. انگار گروه موسیقی حالت اون رو می دونن که دارن نرم تر و لطیف تر آهنگ میزنن. در آخر زن میره و یک مردی میاد که داره سرش رو به هوای آهنگ تکون میده . چهارتا دختر تقریبا اون رو زمین زدن و بریل از دیدن همه اینا هیجان زده شده بود. It was like watching a play where the sea was the backdrop; the band the orchestra and all of the people were the actors. Even Miss Brill was apart of the production! Miss Brill had had always been very mysterious when her students asked her how she spent her Sunday afternoons. She had gone so far as to tell the elderly gentlemen that she read to during the week that she was an experience actress. And as the band struck up a playful tune, Miss Brill wanted to sing aloud, believing that when she did all of the people around her would join in. They were only waiting for their cue. مثل نگاه کردن نمایشی بودش که دریا صحنه ی پشت نمایشه. انگار همه ی مردم و اعضای گروه بازیگرای نمایش ان. حتا انگار بریل هم از اعضای تولید نمایشنامه اس. دوشیزه بریل همیشه خیلی مرموز میشد وقتی دانش آموزاش میپرسیدن که عصر شنبه هاش رو چجوری میگذرونه. ته تهش به مردای مسن گفته بود که طول هفته رو مطالعه میکرده چون یک بازیگر کارکشته است. بریل میخواد با صدای بلند همزمان با گروه موسیقی بخونه و فکر میکنه اگه این کار رو بکنه بقیه مردم هم اونجا بهش می پیوندن و باهاش میخونن. فقط منتظر یک تلنگر ان انگاری. Miss Brill was just preparing her voice when a handsome boy and girl sat down on the bench with Miss Brill. She immediately recognized them as the hero and heroine of the play and prepared to listen to their conversation. بریل داشت صدای خودش رو آماده میکرد وقتی که دید یه پسر و دختر زیبا کنارش نشستن. اونا رو مثل قهرمان نمایشنامه ی خودش دونست و آماده شد که حرفاشون رو بشنوه... The girl said she would not kiss the boy while seated on the bench. The boy said “But why? Because of that stupid old thing at the end there? Why does she come here at all-who wants her? Why doesn’t she keep her silly old mug at home?” (113). The girl laughed and said Miss Brill’s fur was funny looking. دختر گفتش که پسره رو بوس نمیکنه وقتی اونجا رو صندلی نشستن . پسره سوال کرد خوب چرا؟ بخاطره اون چیز احمقانه ای که آخر اونجایه؟ (منظور احتمال سر خَز باشه). چرا اون اصا اینجا میاد؟؟ هیچکس اون رو نمیخواد؟؟؟ دختر خندید و گفتش که خز دوشیزه بریل قیافه ی مضحکی داره. On the way home Miss Brill usually stopped to buy a slice of honey-cake from the bakery. Sometimes there was an almond in her slice and sometimes there was not. She always felt very special on the days she found an almond in her cake. Today; however, Miss Brill walked straight past the bakery and headed home. معمولا وقتایی که بر میگرده خونه میره یه برش کیک عسلی از نون وایی میخره. بعضی وقتا توی کیک بادام هست و بعضی وقتا نیس. اون روزایی که بادام پیدا میکنه خیلی احساس خاصی داره. اما امروز بریل از جلو نونوایی رد شد و مستقیم به طرف خونه رفت. Sitting on the side of her bed, in her little dark room, which felt like a cupboard, she took off her fur and quickly placed it inside its box “but when she put the lid on she thought she heard something crying” (114). کنار تختش بریل تو اتاق تاریک نشسته و تقریبا شبیه یک گنجه احساس میشه. خز رو خیلی سریع از دور گردنش بر می داره و میزارش توی جعبه. اما همین که در جعبه رو میزاره احسا میکنه یه چیزی توی جعبه گریه میکنه و جیغ میکشه. Characters: MAJOR characters: Miss Brill Character The protagonist of the story, which is named after her. She is an unmarried woman – a spinster according to the time and culture the story depicts – who works as a teacher as well as a newspaper reader for an old man. In both of these aspects of her life she feels bereft of meaning and connection: the children don’t listen to her and the man doesn’t seem to care whether she reads to him or not. For this reason she comes to the park every Sunday to watch both the band perform and the people playing as they listen to the band. Over the course of the story she imagines herself as part of an elaborate stage production in which she herself plays a vital role, but an encounter with a boy and girl who dismiss both her and the fur coat she cherishes – but that is actually quite shabby – forces her to reassess her place in the world and makes her retreat back home to her renewed loneliness and alienation. Ermine toque and Gentleman in grey Ermine is a type of white fur and a toque is a type of woman’s hat. Miss Brill identifies the woman by nothing more than her clothes, thus placing utmost importance on this aspect because she understands clothes as a mark of one’s importance in and engagement with society. Though the ermine toque and gentleman in grey speak pleasantly with one another, Miss Brill notices how the woman’s hair is faded into the same color as her hat, which is also worn-out. Fine old man and big old woman This pair sits near Miss Brill on the stands, though they do not talk to each other and so Miss Brill has no one to listen to. They are dressed nicely and elegantly, but, just like everyone else in the stands, they seem tired and aged. After they leave, the boy and girl sit in their spot. Minor Characters Boy and Girl Two young adults. They are a well-dressed couple that sit near Miss Brill and quickly and loudly state that they wish Miss Brill wasn’t there. They then make fun of Miss Brill’s fur coat, and call her a “fried whiting.” Old Man Miss Brill reads to this man four days a week from the newspaper, but he hardly notices her presence, and does not seem to be listening. Englishman and his wife A couple on whom Miss Brill eavesdropped the week before. They argued over spectacles (i.e. eyeglasses), because the wife refused every option available to her. Miss Brill was so frustrated by the wife’s ridiculous behavior that she wished to shake her. Symbols Fur Coat and Garments At the start of the story, Miss Brill speaks fondly to her coat as if it is alive. This strange behavior can be seen as reflecting her nostalgia for a lost youth, when her coat was new and she was at the hopeful age of marriageability At the end of the story, she puts it back into its box, “without looking”, and “she thought she heard something crying”. This arc from fond engagement with her fur coat to her final rejection of it mirrors how she feels about her own place in society over the course of the story: at first she thinks she is part of the community, a participant in the scene she sees around her, but at the end of the story, after she is rejected by the boy, she concludes that she is not important to anyone else at all. The fur coat in which she delights, she sees in that moment, is actually rather shabby and old, and Miss Brill puts away her coat with the same callousness exhibited by the boy, while its “crying” reflects her own despair. Garments in general in the story – such as the ermine toque, the conductor’s coat, or the boy and girl’s beautiful clothes – serve as a marker of class and importance in the story: if you are not well-dressed, you are not well-regarded either. Fried Whiting The “fried whiting” – or a cooked fish – does not actually appear in the story as a physical entity, but the boy uses the image as a way to swiftly describe and dismiss Miss Brill. Thus, the fried whiting is invisible just as Miss Brill is in her society. The deadness of the fish (for it is cooked), in turn, expresses the irrelevance and nonexistence of Miss Brill for those around her – no one will miss her if she is not there. Additionally, a whiting fish is rather unattractive and, because it is common, unremarkable; this suggests how Miss Brill blends into her society: she is at once unseen and also undesirable. Themes Loneliness and Alienation Miss Brill, the protagonist of the story, is a spinster – a word used, at the time of the publication of the story, to refer to an unmarried woman – who spends her days teaching schoolchildren and reading the newspaper to a half-dead man who cares little for her presence. Miss Brill yearns for conversation, yet both the students and the old man don’t listen to her. Her weekly visits to the park are a result of her loneliness and alienation and her desire to exist and interact with a wider world. At the park, she watches and listens to the people and goings on around her and in that way feels like a part of the community. And though she is essentially alone in the stands—an old man and old woman sit next to her, but don’t speak—she finds a way to include herself in what she watches. She sees all of the people, in their separate interactions, as being part of an elaborate stage production. And she thinks of the people in the stands, including herself, not as audience members but rather as performers too. She thinks of herself as being such a part of the production that if she were missing someone would be bound to notice. Indeed, she thinks that she might tell the old man who cares little for her presence that “I have been an actress for a long time.” Yet the only conversation Miss Brill holds in the entire story is with her fur coat. She is not a part of the community, and the reader understands this with the same pang of pain that Miss Brill feels when she overhears the boy and the girl mock her fur coat as old and shabby and speak about her as if she has no right to sit next to them. In this way, the community she thinks she belongs to rejects her, and Miss Brill retreats back to her apartment and lonely life. Her curiosity and desire to connect makes her vulnerable and ends up leading her to realize her alienation from the people she saw as a source of life’s excitement. Delusion and Reality “Miss Brill” alerts us to the title character’s tendency towards delusion and fantasy from the very start, when she starts speaking fondly to her fur coat. Miss Brill is not actually out of her mind, but she is desperate for communication with others. In order to feel a part of something, she goes to the park each week, where she enjoys watching all the people who come to enjoy the band and play on the field. Though Miss Brill is not delusional about what she sees, nor does she speculate much about what she hears—she takes things as she they come—she does begin to feel how connected everyone is to one another, that everyone is a player on a stage, and that she herself is part of the play. Indeed, she thinks that people would miss her if she were not to be there. However, Mansfield shows Miss Brill to be rather self-deluded about her place in the community when a boy and girl dismiss her, saying, “Who wants her?” The couple’s exchange forces Miss Brill to face the reality of her alienation, and the illusion that Miss Brill builds around herself to feel connected to others comes apart. Through the cruelty of others, Miss Brill begins to understand her own self-delusion. And yet, as the story ends with Miss Brill sadly packing away her fur coat, the story asks the reader to think about how important it is to be realistic about one’s own life, and whether some delusion is necessary for happiness. Connectedness Miss Brill, during the time she spends in the park, constantly looks for connections between people. She notices how two young girls and two soldiers meet each other and laugh. She sees a boy picking up a bunch of flowers a woman has dropped. She notices a woman in an ermine torque and a gentleman speaking to each other and imagines what they are saying to one another. These are not Miss Brill’s imaginings; they are real interactions between separate and different individuals who nonetheless mean something to one another. The theory that Miss Brill develops, that everyone belongs to part of a tremendous stage production, remains a valid way to understand and visualize how everyone together makes up a community or a society. Miss Brill has a strong desire for people not only to be connected to one another, but also for these connections to be positive. The week before an Englishman and his wife were arguing about something so silly that Miss Brill wanted to shake the woman. What happens within the connections Miss Brill observes has a visceral effect on her. Put another way, even though Miss Brill deludes herself about her own importance in the scene around her, Miss Brill herself feels connected to the people she watches. That feeling of connectedness also isn’t a delusion: she feels connected, which makes it real. To some extent, that the other characters don’t feel as connected to her doesn’t matter, doesn’t lessen the reality of the connection she feels. Of course, once the cruelty and rudeness of the boy and girl makes Miss Brill view herself through the eyes of others and get the sense that those others don’t feel connected to her, she retreats in pain from what to her now seem like unrequited connections. The pain Miss Brill feels, then, asserts both the importance of feeling connection to human beings and how trying to forge such connections makes one vulnerable. At the same time, it is worth noting how much more noble and exciting Miss Brill’s sense of a universe of connections is to the callous cruelty of the boy and the girl. The story’s power comes not just from the tragedy of Miss Brill’s pain after realizing how others see her and then shutting herself away, but also from the ruin of the beauty of her vision of the connectedness of all people. Analysis of Miss Brill The self-titled protagonist blurs the line between fantasy and reality on an ordinary Sunday outing to the public gardens. There, she imagines she is taking part in a grand play when in reality she is merely sitting alone on a bench observing the world around her. Mansfield takes particular care in establishing a sense of realism in "Miss Brill." Although the exact location is ambiguous, Mansfield’s descriptions of the public gardens and the imagery of the many people who Miss Brill observes, helps create a rich, atmospheric setting of movement and commotion. The motif of music, often used by Mansfield to set the tone of her stories, is utilized in "Miss Brill" to reflect the various moods of the characters as they interact. Miss Brill notes the reflective quality of the music in her own observations, using it as a backdrop for the imaginative scenes developing in her own mind. Mansfield, a modernist, often experimented with structure and narration in her work both of which center on the use of internal monologue in "Miss Brill." Internal monologue was often employed by the modernists to express the thoughts of the characters without disturbing their actions. Mansfield’s use of internal monologue in the character of Miss Brill breaks free its usual constraints because Miss Brill begins to believe her distorted reality is true. The story’s structure is divided between what Miss Brill thinks and what is really happening in the story. The third person narrative supports the structure, creating a rounder picture of Miss Brill’s circumstances while the internal monologue allows the reader access to Miss Brill’s inner, fascinating world. As a character, Miss Brill lives in two distinct worlds. In reality she is a schoolteacher who spends her spare time volunteering and goes to the public gardens on Sundays. A private woman, Miss Brill enjoys the simple pleasures of life like almonds in pastries and seems content in her solitude. Her inward life; however is very different. She images that she is a great actress and dresses herself in fur, most likely a fox head stole which is draped around the neck. Note that the fox’s eyes are glassy when Miss Brill takes the stole from its box, essentially freeing it from storage now that the weather is getting cooler. She strokes and pets the fox’s fur as if it were alive and once she is at the public garden she wants to put the stole on her lap and pet it, as if it were alive. In doing so Miss Brill’s grasp on the difference between reality and fantasy begins to shift. A people watcher, Miss Brill imagines the rich and diverse lives of those around her, observing them and pretending they are apart of her inner world. Note that Miss Brill remains sitting while everyone else around her is in some form of motion. Their lives are full and active while Miss Brill’s remains stationary. Note too her preoccupation with observing couples. Perhaps she yearns to be loved but for her own reasons would rather watch rather than participate suggesting low self-esteem. Interestingly, Miss Brill does not cast herself as the lead in her imaginary play but the performer who opens the show with a song. Just as her imagination has gotten the best of her, Miss Brill physi

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Curie

    "And again, as always, he had the feeling he was holding something that never was quite his. Something too delicate, too precious, that would fly away once he let go." Katherine Mansfield got some serious skill. My God, she knows how to write a story for sure. In this Little Black Classic we get presented three of her short stories and each individually impressed me. I love good writing (duh). Give me some pretty, poetic phrases and I'll be all over you. Not everyone is capable of using the ri "And again, as always, he had the feeling he was holding something that never was quite his. Something too delicate, too precious, that would fly away once he let go." Katherine Mansfield got some serious skill. My God, she knows how to write a story for sure. In this Little Black Classic we get presented three of her short stories and each individually impressed me. I love good writing (duh). Give me some pretty, poetic phrases and I'll be all over you. Not everyone is capable of using the right words, but Katherine Mansfield is able to go beyond that - and write smart stories. Stories that entertain, but let you do some work for yourself, too. While her writing is pristine and precise, there's enough room in her narratives to allow interpretations and coming to your own conclusions. Show and don't tell they say and this is what they must mean. In Marriage à la Mode we have a wife who found herself some new bourgeois friends and emotionally growing distant from her husband through all those new exciting things she's now doing that he is just too boring for. The Stranger let's us in on a husband's mind, who does not realise how he's obsessing about his wife. Miss Brill is the most heart-wrenching one of them, about a schoolteacher who goes to Public Gardens on Sundays. The narrator tells us how much she enjoys her trips in solitude, her little rituals like picking up a slice of cake as a present for herself and listening in on other people's conversations: "She had become really quite expert, she thought, at listening as though she didn't listen, at sitting in other people's lives for just a minute while they talked round her." Sounds like she's having a brilliant time, but as a reader you notice the underlying loneliness. It's a bit like she's trying to convince herself that the life she's living is fulfilling, but you know better. Try not to feel anything when reading that. Short stories don't get any better than this. In 2015 Penguin introduced the Little Black Classics series to celebrate Penguin's 80th birthday. Including little stories from "around the world and across many centuries" as the publisher describes, I have been intrigued to read those for a long time, before finally having started. I hope to sooner or later read and review all of them!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Avalon

    I liked this story because it reminded me of myself. Not because of the fur or she lives through others,but because she likes to watch others and comment on them and even create stories about them when she does not know what is going on in their lives. The ending was very sad though because that rude boy made Miss Brill think she was unloved and sent her home crying. I mean, she wasn't hurting anyone by watching them and creating her fantasies, it just made her happy. I liked this story because it reminded me of myself. Not because of the fur or she lives through others,but because she likes to watch others and comment on them and even create stories about them when she does not know what is going on in their lives. The ending was very sad though because that rude boy made Miss Brill think she was unloved and sent her home crying. I mean, she wasn't hurting anyone by watching them and creating her fantasies, it just made her happy.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    This was my first taste of Katherine Mansfield, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This book contains three of her stories - Marriage à La Mode, Miss Brill, and The Stranger. Out of the three, Marriage à La Mode was my absolute favourite. I found it cutting and funny, and a great comment on society and personal identity. It was an incredibly clever story, and one I would highly recommend everyone check out. Miss Brill, the title story, was sweet but ultimately quite sad, and the final story The Strange This was my first taste of Katherine Mansfield, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This book contains three of her stories - Marriage à La Mode, Miss Brill, and The Stranger. Out of the three, Marriage à La Mode was my absolute favourite. I found it cutting and funny, and a great comment on society and personal identity. It was an incredibly clever story, and one I would highly recommend everyone check out. Miss Brill, the title story, was sweet but ultimately quite sad, and the final story The Stranger, although my least favourite of the three, was a great look at marital jealousy. I'm glad I picked up this mini collection, and am looking forward to reading The Montana Stories in September.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kabrina

    Miss Brill reminded me of myself and I was surging with happiness that an author could put in to words the feelings I get-which seem so hard to explain to people who are often completely inside their heads and overly cynical-every other day. When I read the young couple judging her, I teared up. It cut too close to home, along with feeling bad for them attacking a person who did nothing but be. I know what it feels like to wear something-deemed weird by many- just because you like it and to be t Miss Brill reminded me of myself and I was surging with happiness that an author could put in to words the feelings I get-which seem so hard to explain to people who are often completely inside their heads and overly cynical-every other day. When I read the young couple judging her, I teared up. It cut too close to home, along with feeling bad for them attacking a person who did nothing but be. I know what it feels like to wear something-deemed weird by many- just because you like it and to be truly happy with just simply living-in your own little, content world-and have someone flatten your esteem. What's worse is when this feeling is a huge part of your personality...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tamsien West (Babbling Books)

    A wonderfully melancholy collection of 3 short stories. All 3 had an element of naivete about the protagonist, something like an air of innocence that becomes tainted before the story is over. It is the shattering of the gentle illusions that left me as a reader feeling a pang of loss on their behalf. Mansfield has a flair for moody domestic scenes, and I will definitely seek out her other work.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    “They were all on the stage. They weren't only the audience, not only looking on: they were acting.” ― Katherine Mansfield, "Miss Brill" Vol N° 72 of my Penguin Little Black Classics Box Set. This volume contains three short stories by Mansfield that appear in Penguin's collection The Garden Party and Other Stories. 1. Marriage à la Mode ★★★★★ 2. Miss Brill ★★★★ 3. The Stranger ★★★★ The stories are modernist, but perhaps modernist light. They aren't as challenging narratively as Virginia Woolf, etc.. “They were all on the stage. They weren't only the audience, not only looking on: they were acting.” ― Katherine Mansfield, "Miss Brill" Vol N° 72 of my Penguin Little Black Classics Box Set. This volume contains three short stories by Mansfield that appear in Penguin's collection The Garden Party and Other Stories. 1. Marriage à la Mode ★★★★★ 2. Miss Brill ★★★★ 3. The Stranger ★★★★ The stories are modernist, but perhaps modernist light. They aren't as challenging narratively as Virginia Woolf, etc.. The first story alludes to a story (The Grasshopper) by Chekhov (who it appears influenced Mansfield when she was traveling in Bavaria). Anyway, I enjoyed the stories. They were tight and insightful about marriage, loneliness, and insecurity.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Melora

    It was pure coincidence that I picked No. 72 of Penguin's Little Black Classics out of the box right after finishing No. 48, but it turned out to be a happy pairing. No. 48 is Edith Wharton's “The Reckoning,” and Katherine Mansfield's lonely, dysfunctional characters in the three short stories here – “Marriage a la Mode,” “Miss Brill,” and “The Stranger” -- resonate intriguingly against Wharton's portrayals of women who, while terribly isolated, nevertheless refuse to subside in complete silence It was pure coincidence that I picked No. 72 of Penguin's Little Black Classics out of the box right after finishing No. 48, but it turned out to be a happy pairing. No. 48 is Edith Wharton's “The Reckoning,” and Katherine Mansfield's lonely, dysfunctional characters in the three short stories here – “Marriage a la Mode,” “Miss Brill,” and “The Stranger” -- resonate intriguingly against Wharton's portrayals of women who, while terribly isolated, nevertheless refuse to subside in complete silence. Born about twenty years apart, the women are writing about individuals or couples inhabiting similar milieus, and Mansfield's Miss Brill and Wharton's Mrs. Manstey are particularly alike in the fragile bubbles of little pleasures they have created for themselves. Mansfield's two other stories here offer a starker view of couples hopelessly damaged by selfishness and loss of perspective. Mansfield's Isabel, in “Marriage a la Mode,” is much like Wharton's Julia in “The Reckoning,” but, seen at a different place along her trajectory, appears far less sympathetic (additionally, the dispositions of the women's husbands shows Julia in a softer light). The final story in the Mansfield collection, “The Stranger,” doesn't have a parallel in Wharton's book. It's an interesting story, sad, but also unsettling.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    Available free online here: http://www.katherinemansfieldsociety.... A quick observation of how people critically view others. If they stop .... and take the time to think, how will they view themselves? Delightfully descriptive writing of a middle-aged English teacher, sitting in a park n France, on a lovely Sunday afternoon. She is listening to the oumph-pah-pah of the garden band with her ear tuned not only to the band but also to those around her. She sees the world as a stage. She condescendi Available free online here: http://www.katherinemansfieldsociety.... A quick observation of how people critically view others. If they stop .... and take the time to think, how will they view themselves? Delightfully descriptive writing of a middle-aged English teacher, sitting in a park n France, on a lovely Sunday afternoon. She is listening to the oumph-pah-pah of the garden band with her ear tuned not only to the band but also to those around her. She sees the world as a stage. She condescendingly observes those around her. Then she realizes, they are observing and judging her too! *********************** The Garden Party 3 stars Miss Brill 3 stars Pictures 3 stars Feuille d'Album 2 stars

  14. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    Mansfield's writing is delicate and elegant, and her depiction of the characters is always fine and detailed, but in an attentive and never-too-revealing way, which makes them more real and human, as well ever-changing (something I really like about her style). What the three stories have in common is the theme of communication/understanding, or rather the lack of it, which eventually brings us to the theme of loneliness. Here again, she manages to be delicate and witty without being dramatic, an Mansfield's writing is delicate and elegant, and her depiction of the characters is always fine and detailed, but in an attentive and never-too-revealing way, which makes them more real and human, as well ever-changing (something I really like about her style). What the three stories have in common is the theme of communication/understanding, or rather the lack of it, which eventually brings us to the theme of loneliness. Here again, she manages to be delicate and witty without being dramatic, and hermetic without spoiling the flow of the story. This is short story at its best.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    This is a wonderful selection of stories about sad everyday human events. If a story needs to be singled out it would be Miss Brill this little narrative is a beautiful creation of the life of Miss Brill and her regular Sunday out. Katherine Mansfield has mastered the art of the everyday mundane events as something wonderful. A gentleman checking his watch waiting for his wifes' boat to come in means more than it should. Definately a writer who needs to be read more. Absolutely delightful. This is a wonderful selection of stories about sad everyday human events. If a story needs to be singled out it would be Miss Brill this little narrative is a beautiful creation of the life of Miss Brill and her regular Sunday out. Katherine Mansfield has mastered the art of the everyday mundane events as something wonderful. A gentleman checking his watch waiting for his wifes' boat to come in means more than it should. Definately a writer who needs to be read more. Absolutely delightful.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Yoana

    Three short stories made with the finest ingredients of the genre - creeping undercurrents that remain half-hidden to the last word, the human soul at a glance, setting up a whole spectrum of moods in the span of 10 to 20 pages, a perfect measure of everything. Exquisite. Off to the rest of The Garden Party and Other Stories. 2015 Reading Challenge: A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit Three short stories made with the finest ingredients of the genre - creeping undercurrents that remain half-hidden to the last word, the human soul at a glance, setting up a whole spectrum of moods in the span of 10 to 20 pages, a perfect measure of everything. Exquisite. Off to the rest of The Garden Party and Other Stories. 2015 Reading Challenge: A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit

  17. 5 out of 5

    Paloma

    stories of loneliness and sorrow... of what we want to hold on but as it does not belong to us, it will escape us forever...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Liberty K

    Katherine Mansfield and three little sad stories so lyrical written that I wanted more. I love sadness when it's beautifully written, sue me! Katherine Mansfield and three little sad stories so lyrical written that I wanted more. I love sadness when it's beautifully written, sue me!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bridget

    This is another title I was introduced to via audio - this time downloaded from LibriVox. It is from a book of short stories by Katherine Mansfield, called "The Garden Party," which I am now anxious to find. Miss Brill is the main character in a story about a woman who visits the park in her small town every Sunday. In the springtime, their are concerts, and as she is waiting one day for one to begin, she makes observations about those around her. She is a woman of very definite opinions, leading This is another title I was introduced to via audio - this time downloaded from LibriVox. It is from a book of short stories by Katherine Mansfield, called "The Garden Party," which I am now anxious to find. Miss Brill is the main character in a story about a woman who visits the park in her small town every Sunday. In the springtime, their are concerts, and as she is waiting one day for one to begin, she makes observations about those around her. She is a woman of very definite opinions, leading what sounds like an otherwise rather quiet - maybe even boring - life. On the Sunday in the story, we learn about her little idiosyncracies before and after going to the park, sitting on the same bench, and watching those around her. Though she can be slightly off-putting, she is also somewhat likable, and you can imagine her being a real person. The ending of the story is quite poignant, and I thought, really effective. I would recommend this story. The LibriVox version is read nicely, and the language Mansfield uses is very evocative of time and place.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Heather Rose

    I see that many people find Miss Brill to be pompous and looking down her nose at the little people 'coming from their cupboards' I didnt find that at all as all these characters on the stage were so valuable to her. There is equal footing in this family of stage characters. It is heart breaking to realize that something that is integral to the happiness in your life is essentially garbage to someone else. Seems like she thought more that she shared something common with them and they were endea I see that many people find Miss Brill to be pompous and looking down her nose at the little people 'coming from their cupboards' I didnt find that at all as all these characters on the stage were so valuable to her. There is equal footing in this family of stage characters. It is heart breaking to realize that something that is integral to the happiness in your life is essentially garbage to someone else. Seems like she thought more that she shared something common with them and they were endeared to her. Then find they don't feel the same. Really very sad. Hopefully she can return and not feel ashamed.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Joey Woolfardis

    I did so much enjoy these New Zealand short stories, though I'm not certain why. Written well, but often subtle and vague, which often infuriates me. Occasionally with pointless moments, but also of the kind that speak to you across the ages. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Shop | Etsy I did so much enjoy these New Zealand short stories, though I'm not certain why. Written well, but often subtle and vague, which often infuriates me. Occasionally with pointless moments, but also of the kind that speak to you across the ages. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Shop | Etsy

  22. 5 out of 5

    Beth Bonini

    All three stories in this small collection have a turning point in which the main character feels himself or herself to be an outsider - to be on the fringe of things, to be absurd, even mocked, to be unloved. Mansfield has a light touch, but her conclusions can be quite devastating. Although Miss Brill is in some ways the least substantial story, its poison dart is most effective. It gets at a human fear that I think most of us feel at one time or another: the fear of being superfluous, not wan All three stories in this small collection have a turning point in which the main character feels himself or herself to be an outsider - to be on the fringe of things, to be absurd, even mocked, to be unloved. Mansfield has a light touch, but her conclusions can be quite devastating. Although Miss Brill is in some ways the least substantial story, its poison dart is most effective. It gets at a human fear that I think most of us feel at one time or another: the fear of being superfluous, not wanted, not seen.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kate Did

    This could possibly be my favorite story ever written. Though short Mansfield manages to impart more meaning and emotion into a few short pages then most can in a epic novel. Though not the happiest of short stories it's rich images made feel almost like i was the character herself This could possibly be my favorite story ever written. Though short Mansfield manages to impart more meaning and emotion into a few short pages then most can in a epic novel. Though not the happiest of short stories it's rich images made feel almost like i was the character herself

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    "The air was motionless, but when you opened your mouth there was just a faint chill, like a chill from a glass of iced water before you sip, and now and again a leaf came drifting—from nowhere, from the sky.” Mansfield's writing about early fall is poetic and rich. "The air was motionless, but when you opened your mouth there was just a faint chill, like a chill from a glass of iced water before you sip, and now and again a leaf came drifting—from nowhere, from the sky.” Mansfield's writing about early fall is poetic and rich.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Bunting

    Beautiful little story that deals with loneliness and the desperate desire to connect. I will definitely check out some more of Mansfield's work. Beautiful little story that deals with loneliness and the desperate desire to connect. I will definitely check out some more of Mansfield's work.

  26. 5 out of 5

    zainab_booklover

    Withholding from saying much, I’ll just say this: undoubtedly anyone will find Miss Brill short story very relatable at one point or another in his/her life. (if not repeatedly )

  27. 4 out of 5

    Arisarah

    At first, it seems really simple and boring, but when u dig a little deeper, u can find yourself in Miss Brill or at least a part of yourself. And also there's an interesting relation between the name of the character and the character itself. "Brill" is a kind of fish that's not edible and it's almost useless. Nobody wants it. Nobody choose it. Just like Miss Brill herself and boy how sad is that? At first, it seems really simple and boring, but when u dig a little deeper, u can find yourself in Miss Brill or at least a part of yourself. And also there's an interesting relation between the name of the character and the character itself. "Brill" is a kind of fish that's not edible and it's almost useless. Nobody wants it. Nobody choose it. Just like Miss Brill herself and boy how sad is that?

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    A beautifully sad story about a woman who doesn't belong in society. She criticizes and pities others for being odd, silent, outsiders and then realises that she herself is an odd, silent, outsider. Beautiful symbolism and comparisons. A beautifully sad story about a woman who doesn't belong in society. She criticizes and pities others for being odd, silent, outsiders and then realises that she herself is an odd, silent, outsider. Beautiful symbolism and comparisons.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lin

    I need more Katherine Mansfield in my life! Her writing is not only superb, she also has this talent of capturing characters in a really subtle way. Loved the stories and can only recommend them!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Arezu Wishka

    A rare third person omniscient. I liked it for my literature class.

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