We can never get enough of Sylvia Plath. A short story, a ‘lost’ story, Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom, is now available published by Faber Stories 55 years after her death. We first reported on this in October, when it was announced that the story would be made available in 2019, and now here we are! The story was published by Faber on January 3rd, and is now available on Amazon.
Image Via Faber.co.uk
Plath was twenty-years-old when she submitted this story to Mademoiselle magazine, who rejected it, though she had won the publication’s fiction contest the year before. According to The New Yorker, critic and academic Judith Glazer-Raymo unearthed the story while doing research into Plath’s works and other archives.
Image Via Thenational.scot
Harper Perennial is expected to publish the book with an alternative book cover design—illustrated with train tracks following the sunset—available on Amazon, January 15th. Here is how the cover looks like along with its Amazon synopsis:
Image Via Amazon
Never before published, this newly discovered story by literary legend Sylvia Plath stands on its own and is remarkable for its symbolic, allegorical approach to a young woman’s rebellion against convention and forceful taking control of her own life.
Written while Sylvia Plath was a student at Smith College in 1952, Mary Ventura and The Ninth Kingdom tells the story of a young woman’s fateful train journey.
Lips the color of blood, the sun an unprecedented orange, train wheels that sound like “guilt, and guilt, and guilt”: these are just some of the things Mary Ventura begins to notice on her journey to the ninth kingdom.
“But what is the ninth kingdom?” she asks a kind-seeming lady in her carriage. “It is the kingdom of the frozen will,” comes the reply. “There is no going back.”
Sylvia Plath’s strange, dark tale of female agency and independence, written not long after she herself left home, grapples with mortality in motion.
Check out a preview of the story from The Guardian here!