This fine collection of classic tales by women is complemented by appropriate, unobtrusive classical music from the Naxos music catalogue, along with a booklet with biographies of the authors and readers. All of the narrators are exemplary, but Teresa Gallagher's performance of Virginia Woolf's "The Mark on the Wall" stands out. In this unusual stream-of-consciousness story, a woman sitting idly in her home notices a tiny speck on the wall, and as she wonders what it is (a hole from a nail? Dirt? An insect?) her thoughts wander to the people who owned the house previously, to history, to philosophy, to her own life and always back to the mark on the wall. Gallagher sounds completely spontaneous: listeners can easily believe that she truly is daydreaming and thinking aloud. In Katherine Mansfield's "The Garden Party," Carole Boyd's insightful performance accurately portrays British class distinctions post-WWI. Laura, an elite young girl, frets that her family should cancel their long-anticipated party out of respect when a workman is killed in front of their house, but her elders hush her, believing that "people like that" wouldn't expect them to spoil their fun. Boyd deftly creates character voices for Laura, her family, the home and garden workers, and for the poverty-stricken family that she later visits. Her reading conveys Laura's conflict between her former comfortable ignorance and her new social awareness. (Dec. 2001) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Gr 8 Up-Five short stories by three women, each from a different English speaking culture and each recognized as both a short story writer and early feminist, are read here by three accomplished narrators. Katherine Mansfield's "The Garden Party" and "The Daughters of the Late Colonel" explore issues of class identity and family relations as their protagonists show off the limits and flexibility of their own self-awareness. Kate Chopin's "Ma'ame Pelagie" offers an atypical, but credible viewpoint on once-landed women experiencing the South's defeat in the American Civil War. In her "Lilacs," the scene is differently exotic: a convent in France. Finally, Virginia Woolf's "The Mark on the Wall" gives listeners a taste of the author's cerebral approach to matters of the individual's interior psychology. The first three of these stories are accessible to readers and listeners who expect the genre to offer movement from beginning to middle to end, but the last two demand more sophistication. Carole Boyd, Liza Ross, and Teresa Gallagher are well-chosen for the stories each of them reads, melding their tones both to the characters and to the writer's narrative style. None of the individual stories is abridged, although each appears in print within different collections. The publisher's typical musical interludes are chosen well to offset the period moods of both the parts and the whole.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.