Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom by Sylvia Plath

mary ventura

Celebrating their 90th birthday, Faber has put out a collection of little short story books – and I love those little single short story books for some reason – and the jewel in the crown in this series is this recently rediscovered and never before publicly available short story by Sylvia Plath.

Plath wrote this fable when she was 20 and it was rejected by her desired outlets. So is it any good? Yes, it is. The writing in it is clean and sparse and a little bit surreal at times, which fits the confusing scenario that Mary Ventura finds herself in.

I could recount the plot of the story, but I won’t, because it won’t do it justice, also because there’s so little I wouldn’t want to dampen your enjoyment. And anyway, you’re likely reading this to read Plath’s excellent prose, more so than the specific story. It makes me want to go back and reread her short story collection, Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams (which, still, is one of the best titles ever).

A gorgeous little allegorical story deserving of being out in the world. Recommended.

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You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

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