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Janet Frame: an Autobiography (Janet Frame Autobiography #1-3)

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  1,202 ratings  ·  76 reviews
New Zealand's preeminent writer Janet Frame brings the skill of an extraordinary novelist and poet to these vivid and haunting recollections, gathered here for the first time in a single volume. From a childhood and adolescence spent in a poor but intellectually intense railway family, through life as a student and years of incarceration in mental hospitals, eventually fol ...more
Hardcover, 440 pages
Published 1995 by The Women's press (first published 1982)
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I inhabited a territory of loneliness which I think resembles that place where the dying spend their time before death, and from where those who do return living to the world bring inevitably a unique point of view that is a nightmare, a treasure, and a lifelong possession; at times I think it must be the best view in the world, ranging even farther than the view from the mountains of love, equal in its rapture and chilling exposure, there in the neighborhood of the ancient gods and goddesses.
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
She was ugly. She tried to kill herself. Several times she mentioned her rotting teeth, implying the inferiority complex she much have developed because of it, her wild shock of curly hair which almost always elicited the suggestion from others to have it straightened, her lack of fashionable clothes. At one dance party she attended no one had asked her to dance so she went home early, by herself, then pretended the next day that she had a blast the night previous.

Her family was poor and she had
Jun 27, 2013 Mariel rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dear everyone
Recommended to Mariel by: I was now erased from the earth
Temporary masks, I knew, had their place; everyone was wearing them, they were the human rage; but not masks cemented in place until the wearer could not breathe and was eventually suffocated.

She looked how everyone saw her. Sometime after reading Janet Frame's first autobiography To the Is-Land late 2012 I watched some of the 1990s film adaptation by Jane Campion. I stopped watching it into the part from An Angel at my Table. Janet, Jean to her family, looked like everyone saw her. I couldn't h

Is it blasphemy to say that I prefer her nonfiction to her fiction?
Her fiction was dense, poetic, experimental—all of which I fully appreciate.
Her autobiography is just her truth, which I absolutely love. This resonated so much with me. It's one of those books that says exactly what I would want to say to the world if I'd had the presence of mind to say it first.

She was diagnosed with schizophrenia but wasn't schizophrenic. She was autistic if ever a woman was.

If you'd like to hear a liter
I confess that I came to this book only after seeing Jane Campion's brilliant film adaptation of Janet Frame's autobiographies. And, despite telling essentially the same story, the book and the film feel like wildly different things. That's the nature of an adaptation, of course; and I'm not suggesting that Campion is somehow less faithful to her source material than other directors might be. It's just that Campion's film is perhaps more masterful, more finely crafted. Which does not take anythi ...more
Margherita Dolcevita
E' una delle autobiografie più belle che abbia mai letto. Divisa in tre parti estremamente diverse tra loro, è un'esplosione di vitalità, di forza, di coraggio. Non è un libro semplice, è molto lungo e l'ambientazione neozelandese è molto lontana dai nostri standard; le riflessioni sulla scrittura sono imperdibili, davvero un ottimo libro.
Barbro Kinnunen
Extra-ordinary life and writing style. She goes from a very realistic and straight on language to the most poetic descibtions of ordinary thing that I have ever read. Some strophes needs to be read twice or trice to even comprehend and absorb. A book to read for all :-) !
This is the second volume in a trilogy of autobiographies by New Zealand writer Janet Frame, covering about ten years in the 1940s between the time she leaves school and sets off for London. Her description of surviving eight years spent in mental institutions as a result of being mistakenly diagnosed with schizophrenia, is horrifying, but also compelling. I love Janet Frame's novels; her writing is beautiful, complex, and she just seems to turn language inside out. From that point of view alone ...more
From BBC Radio 4 - Classical Serial:
Dramatisation by Anita Sullivan of the autobiography of New Zealand author Janet Frame.

Coming up in January 13.
Ruth Brittain
A wonderful autobiography.....sad, funny and unforgettable....a brilliant author of the utmost sensitivity.....
Wandering through my favourite book store I saw that they had reissued Frame's series of autobiography. I was suddenly very embarrassed that I had never read one of New Zealand's greatest authors, being a kiwi myself. So I bought it.

From the first line;

"From the first place of liquid darkness, within the second place of air and light, I set down the following record with its mixture of fact and truths and memories and its direction always toward the Third Place, where the starting point is myth
Kim Pertinence
i felt encouraged by the, now almost unheard about, close family knit, and how everyday pragmatism enabled way more than the modicum of secure relationships that psychiatric hospitals try to provide but are far from sustainable, the madding artificial crowd of a clinical environment that was only ever meant to be a temporary measure. unfortunately, temporary measures are now a way of life and core, nuclear family values have been nuked instead of tweaked by the social engineers responsible for o ...more
Della O'Shea
"Writing an auto biography, usually thought of as looking back, can just as well be a looking across or through, with the passing of time giving an X-ray quality to the eye. Also, time past is not time gone, it is time accumulated, with the host resembling the character in the fairytale who was joined along the route by more and more characters, none of whom could be separated from one another, or from the host, with some stuck so fast that their presence caused physical pain. Add to the charact ...more
Tina Cousins
It's a curious read, very interesting in parts, very disturbing in others and very poetic (literally). However, if you can excuse the pun, you have to be in the frame of mind to read this book for prolonged periods, as it can be quite depressing - to me, this is the sort of book you have to read a little of for a couple of days and come back to in a couple of weeks in order for you not to get sucked into this world of sadness.

Great autobiography of Janet Frame - one of those books you discover by chance that turns out to be a masterpiece.

Janet became a Nobel-prize winning writer but was hours away from being lobotomized as a schizophrenic. Then again if you write novels about people sitting catatonically and talking to black beetles ...
Caroline Barron
Frame clung to words as if they were a rope dangling from a cliff; and barely survived. She disguised her tumultuous inner world with fashionable-leftism, but ultimately couldn't keep up the facade, and in 1943 attempted suicide. She survived, in part by being rescued by an angel (New Zealand author Frank Sargeson) who took her in, fed her and most importantly, gave her a room in which to write her precious words.

Serendipitously, next week, a memorial will be held for my best friend's wonderful
A beaufitully written biography with some poetry which led Jane Campion to make a movie out of it with the same title. 500 pages of absolute pleasure. Janet Frame was from New Zealand 1924-2004. One of the very few books I will definitely read again.
Charles Yee
The first volume of the autobiography was a little dry, but my interest was aroused when Janet Frame touched on the traumatic phase of her her life as an inmate in a mental hospital in the second volume, the once dull language became lyrical, with plenitude of feelings to which I can relate, for I was too, diagnosed with a mental illness several years ago. My favourite is volume three, the part where the writer sounded more optimistic towards life as a tourist in Europe. She overcame her introve ...more
Janet Frame is required reading. One of the best writers to come out of New Zealand, this is one of her best, what it is to be female and 'mad' and live in New Zealand.
I read this when it first came out - remember waiting impatiently for it to do so, and I wasn't disappointed.
I have the 3 in the set and it's time to read them again!
Esther Bradley-detally
i read this years back; i loved the film - Jane Campion; Janet Frame's life is one of courage, and gives other writers hpe.
Paul Simon Grimsley
a brilliant, sad, compelling and beautiful story. this is one of the best autobiography's i have ever read.
East Library UWCSEA
The memoir of Janet Frame, one of New Zealand's most famous authors. Made into a movie in 1990.
Marni McClure
Watched the series in New Zealand & was very excited to get my hands on a copy.
Con questo libro la Frame ci conduce in un viaggio, o meglio un'esplorazione, all'interno di se stessa, svelandoci, con semplicità e modestia, i suoi lati più oscuri, le sue paure e le sue vittorie, a partire dalla infanzia fino alla maturità. Ci svela il senso di inadeguatezza che l'ha accompagnata per tutta la vita, ed il costante tentativo, portato avanti con coraggio e determinazione, di affermare se stessa, il suo insolito aspetto fisico e la sua diversità di aspettative ed intenti rispetto ...more
The parts I liked about this book: the story of a young woman trying to find herself, the importance of place in that process, descriptions of a writer encountering writing that changes her, what it means to have a misunderstood mental illness, the difficulty of overcoming the great desire to concede to others' expectations, finally finding yourself ready to take the journey you didn't even think you wanted to go on.

The parts I did not like about this book: it was paced too slowly for me--I kept
Just finished Vol. 3: The Envoy From Mirror City, which I liked best of all three. This may have something to do with the fact that between reading this one and the first two I rewatched the Jane Campion film, which I enjoyed (though there were some things Campion took artistic license with that I think were bad choices), and watching the film gave me a new appreciation. Or, it might be that the third volume was the best. Or, it might be that I grew up and became a better reader or something. Or ...more
I really disliked the book and would never have read it, but I had to for a university course. I couldn't connect to Janet Frame at all and her constant whining really annoyed me. She had nothing to whine about, there are much more people worse off than her. And when she started to exaggerate her schizophrenia symptoms, I nearly threw the book in the bin. I just cannot understand what all the fuss is about. Sorry, but this is the most boring and worst book I've ever read.
Michael Armijo
Janet Frame gives us good reason to "WRITE".

Janet Frame was an amazing woman. She died on Jan 30, 2004. I had this book on my 'need to read' shelf when I read an obituary in the NY Times about her death at age 79. She endured so much and wrote so keenly. She was thought to be a schizophrenic and wrote about her periods of madness in mental institutions. This autobiography was fascinating for me. There is a gentleness and everlasting patience about her that will make anyone like her. If you want
03.01.2013 Ich habe auf Ö1 ein wunderbares Porträt dieser mir völlig unbekannten Autorin gehört. Danach habe ich mir, allerdings von C.H.Beck, diese Romanbiografie bestellt und jetzt bin ich bereits auf Seite 100 und schon wieder einmal fasziniert.
09.01.2013 Ausgelesen und verliebt. Wunderbare zarte Seelenbilder in der rauen Wirklichkeit Neuseelands in den Kriegsjahren. Jawohl würde ich sagen wenn mich jemand fragen würde ob ich Frame persönlich gekannt habe. Ja ich kenne die schüchterne, beoba
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The fate befalling the young woman who wanted "to be a poet" has been well documented. Desperately unhappy because of family tragedies and finding herself trapped in the wrong vocation (as a schoolteacher) her only escape appeared to be in submission to society's judgement of her as abnormal. She spent four and a half years out of eight years, incarcerated in mental hospitals. The story of her alm ...more
More about Janet Frame...

Other Books in the Series

Janet Frame Autobiography (3 books)
  • To the Is-land: An Autobiography (Autobiography, #1)
  • An Angel At My Table
  • The Envoy from Mirror City: An Autobiography (Autobiography, #3)
Faces in the Water Owls Do Cry To the Is-land: An Autobiography (Autobiography, #1) Towards Another Summer Scented Gardens for the Blind

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“All writers--all beings--are exiles as a matter of course. The certainty about living is that it is a succession of expulsions of whatever carries the life force...All writers are exiles wherever they live and their work is a lifelong journey towards the lost land..” 17 likes
“...there must be an inviolate place where the choices and decisions, however imperfect, are the writer's own, where the decision must be as individual and solitary as birth or death.” 10 likes
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