Katherine Mansfield's short story follows Ian French, a peculiar and idle young painter who seems to be almost painfully shy. Women attempt to woo him, to no avail; they consider him to be utterly hopeless. But his demure countenance belies his intense desire, as there is one woman he loves, though he has never spoken to her. He is determined to do so.
Mansfield crafts an ambiguous structure that morphs from the women's perspective to French's. The clever narrative is performed with wit and sensitivity by Juliet Stevenson, who captures the women's harrumphing frustration and French's lovesick yearning with grace.
This is a story from the Bliss & Other Stories collection.
One of Katherine Mansfield's finest short stories, Bliss introduces us to Bertha, who experiences a sense of rapture as she reflects on her life. On her walk home one day, she is overwhelmed by a sense of bliss and contentment.
However, her joy later turns to disappointment as she discovers her husband is having an affair with her new friend Pearl.
Katherine Mansfield became well-known for her focus on psychological conflicts and complex characters; and "Bliss" displays these qualities brilliantly, exploring themes of marriage, adultery and duplicity. This set also contains five other short stories by Katherine Mansfield: "Mr Reginald Peacock's Day", "Pictures", "The Little Governess", "Feuille D'Album", and "A Dill Pickle".