Linda Burnell dreams, listless and distant, whilst downstairs her mother sets in order the family’s new home in the New Zealand countryside. Her vigorous and exhausting husband, Stanley, is at the office, but will return with eager and admiring eyes. Her children prepare lunch on a concrete step and her sister sings love songs to an imaginary young man.
This is The Aloe,
which Katherine Mansfield wrote to crystallize the memories of her childhood. It was reworked to become her acclaimed Prelude. But the original is very different - in style, detail and texture - giving us a wonderful short novel in its own right. The text has been prepared by Vincent O'Sullivan, the renowned Mansfield scholar.