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The Edge of the Alphabet

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  107 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Recipient of the prestigious Commonwealth Writers Prize in 1989, Janet Frame has long been admired for her startlingly original prose and formidable imagination. A native of New Zealand, she is the author of eleven novels, four collections of stories, a volume of poetry, a children's book, and her heartfelt and courageous autobiography -- all published by George Braziller. ...more
Paperback, 303 pages
Published October 1st 1991 by George Braziller (first published December 1962)
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I’m continuing my journey discovering Janet Frame; The Edge of the Alphabet is yet another magical book of prose, experimental and challenging, a timeless narrative about the beauty and ugliness of the human condition. She plunges right in, starting on the first page:

Man is the only species for whom the disposal of waste is a burden, a task often ill judged, costly, criminal — especially when he learns to include himself, living and dead, in the list of waste products.

The creator of the world d
Janet Frame constantly amazes me. Much like VW she can achieve astounding poetic insight into the psyche. This is a pictorial theater of madness: a waking dreamstate where all is a kind of quiet and graceful torturous despair and nothing is quite as we would have it be.
Tina Hein
Reading anything from Janet Frame is a gift to yourself. An exeptionally rare gift with language, her books are exquisite. She will leave you speachless.
Really struggled with this novel. I found the characters depressing as they all failed to fulfill their dreams or reach their potential and their out look on the world seemed so small and self centered and neurotic. The three main characters leave New Zealand by ship bound for London. One, who reflects Frame's epileptic brother, is determined to write a book based on his only scholastic success; a story he wrote at primary school which was read out loud to the class. Needless to say the farthest ...more
Adriana Diaz
It's not the easiest Janet Frame book, and I wouldn't recommend it for someone whose never read her before. I say this because the story was a little hard to follow. But the writing is so exquisite in places that I just had to read it over and over. This is a poet's novel. I am a big Janet Frame fan, so I know I will go back to it time and again, just to reread and study the passages that knocked me out.
Thorne Clark
There is a weirdly hilarious mock biography by Steve Aylett called "Lint", where he spoofs a fictional sci fi author that is a composite caricature of real writers (but who most resembles Philip K. Dick). Reading The Edge of the Alphabet came very close to being a similar experience, but without the punchline. By the third page of nonsequitur metaphor, I realized it was intended as "serious" literature. This is like a bizarro world Duras ... or like Andy Samberg doing an impression of Marquez. I ...more
this is my favorite janet frame book so far, but i haven't read yellow flowers in the antipodean room yet. i loved it--it hurt a little to read and conjured up weird child-nightmarish snippets of blurry sense memory from the past. very deceptive in the simplicity of its barebones picture-book plot formation and dialogue, but sinister and brittle feeling in that janet frame way. sigh.
Feby Idrus
A weird, surreal book, which is also really depressing and dark. Not the kind of book to give either a person with chronic depression or an aspiring artist on their birthday.
Mark Flowers
This is going to take me a little while to process. All I can say right now is that it was amazing.

Also, watch Angel at My Table, a biopic about Janet Frame.
Outi S.
One more post colonial book about being marginalized. Just good.
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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...
An Angel at my Table (Autobiography #1-3) Faces in the Water Owls Do Cry To the Is-land: An Autobiography (Autobiography, #1) Towards Another Summer

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