LibriVox recording of The Statement of Stella Maberly by F. Anstey. Read in English by annie70 From childhood Stella Maberly has been violently wilful and jealous, yet certain of her own superiority. She can be loving and friendly, but soon loses friends, when in the grip of her “demons” she acts with disdain and subtle cruelty, and then revels in the misery of her loneliness. Her paranoia results in tragedy for her best friend Evelyn, and Stella comes to believe that Evelyn is possessed by an evil spirit. In this statement Stella reflects on the events leading to her present situation...Was the evil imagined? Who was “possessed”? Is Stella to be blamed or pitied? This story can be seen from two viewpoints: do we take the words of the other characters literally at face value, or are we being influenced by Stella's interpretation? It’s fun to try interpreting from both angles! (Summary by Anne F) For further information, including links to online text, reader information, RSS feeds, CD cover or other formats (if available), please go to the LibriVox catalog page for this recording.
December 12, 2019 Subject:
Stunning, but it may make you uncomfortable
F. Anstey's serious novels never received as much attention as his humorous works, which is a real shame, as his storytelling and characterization talent are very evident in this book. This is a truly fine early example of psychological horror, ranking with works such as Frank Herbert's Soul Catcher, and Poe's The Black Cat.
It is also interesting to compare it with Charlotte Perkins Gilman's novella, The Yellow Wallpaper, which came out only 4 years earlier, and therefore quite possibly influenced this work. While Anstey is less overt in drawing connections between the first person narrator's state of mind, and societal restrictions on women, it is nonetheless clear that repression of socially unacceptable feelings and conflicts between those feelings and economic dependence are a major factor in her condition.
The psychological descriptions in this book are so credible that I am inclined to believe the author had some firsthand experience to draw upon, as psychology was in its infancy at the time.
The reader is excellent, and I thank her very much for her time