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C.K. Stead's fictionalised account of Katherine Mansfield's life describes her search to write the new kind of fiction towards which she strives. The author sticks scrupulously to what is known about her whilst taking the reader beyond mere biography and on into her mind, emotions and sensibilities
Spanning three years in the life of the writer Katherine Mansfield during the Fist World War, this novel follows the ups and downs of her relationship with Jack Middleton Murry and her struggle to write the 'new kind of fiction' whic she felt the times demanded. She is restless, constantly on the move, in and out of London, to and from France, even, once, into the war zone to be with her French lover, nevelist Francis Carco. For a short time, Mansfield is able to behave as though the war is merely 'background', but her ardent relationship with her brother, who arrives from New Zealand to fight in France, makes detachment impossible - as does her love for Jack's Oxford friend Frederick Goodyear, also a soldier. The war's shadow remorselessly darkens all their lives, but only increases Mansfield's determination to break through as a writer. While sticking scupulously to what is known about Mansfield's life and those of her friends (a cast that includes DH and Frieda Lawrence, Bertrand Russell, Dora Carrington, Lytton Strachey, Aldous Huxley, T S Elliot, Lady Ottoline Morrel and Virginia Wolfe), this novel is extraordinary in taking the reader beyond the point of biography into
C. K. Stead was Professor of English at the University of Auckland until 1986. In 1984, he was awarded the CBE for services to New Zealand literature. He has published ten volumes of poetry, two volumes of stories and several works of criticism, and edited the Penguin Modern Classics Letters and Journals of Katherine Mansfield (1977). Mansfield is his tenth novel.
A fictionalised account of Katherine Mansfield's life, her loves and her search to write the 'new kind of fiction' towards which she strives. A fascinating and enlightening account, whatever your prior knowledge of this well-loved author.
Short-listed for Tasmania Pacific Rim Region Prizes: Fiction 2005