Source: LibriVox (MP3)
Length: 34 minutes
The story: As the time for their garden party approaches, the Sheridan household is abuzz with activity. Mrs. Sheridan and her daughters, Laura, Josie, and Meg, must supervise the workmen, servants, cooks, and gardeners. It's such hard work getting ready for a party! When a tragedy strikes nearby, the family must decide how they will incorporate these events into their plans.
Katherine Mansfield's story is a great exploration of class distinction. Her words hang with dramatic irony. The banality of the Sheridans' activities contrast with the later events in a twisted kind of foreshadowing. I found the ending a bit of a cop-out, but I think that might be the whole point of the story. Life is either incredibly meaningful or incredibly meaningless, either way, it lies beyond words to describe.
The reader: This is a beautifully read piece by the incongruently named iremonger. The reading has a lyrical quality. Early on, he stumbles a little, but as the narrative goes along, the reader seems to fall into a grove and tells a good story. The sound quality is high with only a few background noises.