9th out of 53 books — 26 voters
The Edge of the Alphabet
by Janet Frame
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 December 31st 1991 by George Braziller
(first published December 1962)
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(showing 1-30 of 165)
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.
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
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.
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...moreMore about Janet Frame...