‘A Dill Pickle’ by Katherine Mansfield

This is a deliciously stop-start story that veers wildly between passion and indifference. I can smell the zest of the orange peel, clearly see the waft of the Russian cigarette smoke, and taste the titular dill pickle. Like a lot of my favourite short stories, it’s a portrait of disconnection, misconnection, and the potential for something more (whether really desirable or not) cut off or cut short. I applaud it for its an exquisitely enticing opening line: “And then, after six years, she saw him again.”

First published in The New Age on 4 October 1917; collected in Bliss & Other Stories, Wordsworth Classics, 1998, and available to read online here

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