Ian French is a young artist in Paris, whose romantic attire and ‘trick of blushing' has society ladies fluttering to his side with attempts to coax him out of his shy exterior. Mansfield humorously reveals the conceit of such fickle fancies and delicately paints for us the true colours of this man’s life, a life that is not entirely free from its own flights of fancy. This a tender, honest observation on the drama of the human heart: its desire for beauty, and ultimately, love.
Virginia Woolf once said Katherine Mansfield produced ‘the only writing I have ever been jealous of.’ Mansfield was born in New Zealand but spent most of her working life in Britain becoming, along with D.H. Lawrence and Woolf, one of the most accomplished writers of the Modernist short story. After an initial love of Oscar Wilde’s stabs at the genre, Chekhov was her main inspiration in later life. Her great talent was cut short due to the contraction of tuberculosis during the First World War and her subsequent death at the age of 34.