Cover image for The rose garden : short stories
The rose garden : short stories
Brennan, Maeve.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : Counterpoint, 2000.
Physical Description:
307 pages ; 22 cm
The view from the kitchen -- The anachronism -- The gentleman in the pink-and-white striped shirt -- The joker -- The stone hot-water bottle -- The divine fireplace -- The servants' dance -- The bride -- The holy terror -- The Bohemians -- The rose garden -- The beginning of a long story -- The daughters -- A snowy night on West Forty-ninth Street -- I see you, Bianca -- The door on West Tenth Street -- A large bee -- The children are very quiet when they are away -- In and out of Never-Never Land -- The children are there, trying not to laugh.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
FICTION Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



From the author of "The Springs of Affection" comes a second collection of 20masterly short stories written during the glory days of "The New Yorker."

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Most of the stories in this second collection by the author of The Springs of Affection (1997) were published in the 1950s and 1960s, in her New Yorker days. Some are set in Ireland, others in New York, especially in an exclusive community called Herbert's Retreat along the Hudson, 30 miles north of the city. There her satire ranges freely: from the modestly situated, second-rate theater and literature-critic Charles in "The Gentleman in the Pink and White Striped Shirt," who never shows his shabby one-room hotel apartment and who, of course, is the toast of Herbert's wives; to the relentless scramble for river views that drives marriage plotting in "The View from the Kitchen"; to the misguided, one-upping importation of an authentic, old-style English servant in "The Anachronism." These are sharply funny stories, but, as in "The Bohemians," with its two Irish fortysomethings in Dublin who "had the glittering, exploring eyes of people who have never learned to control their dreams," Brennan also makes us aware of the sadness and disappointment in her characters' lives. --Jim O'Laughlin

Publisher's Weekly Review

A New Yorker writer from 1949 to 1981, the late Brennan also wrote many short stories, some published in 1997's The Springs of Affection. Six of the 20 stories in this volume are collected for the first time. Set in and around New York and Dublin, Brennan's carefully crafted scenes are reminiscent of James Joyce's Dubliners for their subtle epiphanies of anesthetized life. "The Bride" is typical, concerning Margaret, a vulnerable Irish immigrant maid who is trapped by a bullying plumber into a loveless marriage. The stories set in Herbert's Retreat fictionalize Snedens Landing on the Hudson River, where Brennan and her second husband, New Yorker managing editor St. Clair McKelway. lived. Four of them feature Charles Runyon, noted man of letters and theater critic (nicknamed "Mr. God"). In "The View from the Kitchen," the maids critique the lady of the house, Leona Harkey, and her fascination with "Mr. God." Another narrative is an ironic sketch of good taste becoming absurd, centered on Runyon's pink-and-white striped shirt and Leona's adoring copy. In "The Stone Hot-Water Bottle," a social absurdity finally pushes Leona into a nuanced but distinct rebellion against her idol. The title tale is set in Dublin, where a 39-year-old shopkeeper with two young children watches her husband slowly die, her memory searching for meaning in the rose garden of a local convent. Unable to translate her exploration into terms others can understand, she is perceived as being wretchedly selfish. Although Brennan's approach includes humor and social commentary, these stories are too dark to be called comedies of manners. Rather her focus centers on the tragedy produced when an individual's need for expression is countered and restricted by the need for societal acceptance. Readers moved by this veteran writer's storytelling skill will welcome the reemergence of the late Brennan's perspectives. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Many of the characters in Brennan's Rose Garden do not get enough sunlight, and most of them die before they ever bloom. In this companion volume to 1997's The Springs of Affection, which includes six previously unpublished pieces, the former New Yorker writer dissects malicious, martini-swilling New York suburbanites, the Irish maids who rip their airs to shreds, a self-conscious Dublin housewife, and other emotional transients with a meticulous hand. Her tepid-tea tone and crisp descriptions may make readers think that she does not care about their lot. Theater critic Charles Runyon and his partner-in-party-crimes Leona Harkey--the subjects of most of the stories--don't deserve a kick in the arse. Empathy in Brennan's canon is a precious emotion, and she only awards it when the oppressed overpower the cruel elite with more cruelty. The closing stories, which honor her beloved cats, black Lab, and Long Island beach cottage, further reveal her mistrust of human nature and love of solitude and innocence. Recommended for larger collections.--Heather McCormack, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.