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To the Is-land: An Autobiography (Janet Frame Autobiography #1)

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  327 ratings  ·  16 reviews
In this first volume of her autobiography, New Zealand novelist Janet Frame tells of her childhood as the daughter of an impoverished railway worker and a mother who aspired to publish poetry.

Despite material privations and family conflicts, the world of the imagination was accorded a supreme place in the Frame household, and it was at this time that Janet Frame acquired h
Hardcover, 195 pages
Published October 1st 1982 by George Braziller (first published 1982)
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Nov 15, 2012 Mariel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: what does ugly mean?
Recommended to Mariel by: I'm gonna plant a tree and let it rise out of the fury
I wanted an imagination that would inhabit a world of fact, descend like a shining light upon the ordinary life of Eden street, and not force me to exist in an 'elsewhere'. I wanted the light to shine upon the pigeons of Glen street, the plum trees in our garden, the two japonica bushes (one red, one yellow), our pine plantations and gully, our summer house, our lives, and our home, the world of Oamaru, the kingdom by the sea. I refused to accept that if I were to fulfil my secret ambition to be ...more
Dec 11, 2007 Melody rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melody by: Rachel C
Janet Frame, one of New Zealand's best-known writers, remembers her early years in dreamy, thought-swimming sentences, chock-full of poetic, strung-together adjectives. Her family is made up of her father who "was inclined to dourness with a strong sense of formal behavior that did not allow him the luxury of reminiscence"; her mother whose "titties were always there, like the cow's teats for an occasional squirt into our mouths"; Bruddie, her brother who (poor thing) developed epilepsy and had ...more
"I wanted an imagination that would inhabit a world of fact, descend like a shining light upon the ordinary life of Eden Street." Her book stands up to this hope. It's a concrete, tangible life story lit up by her humor, intelligence, and compassion.
I love Janet Frame. I just love her. I feel as though she could be a member of my family.
Caroline Barron
On this perfect little New Zealand is-land (sic) - Waiheke - I met Janet Frame for the first time. Reading Frame is like coming home - walking through paddocks in bare feet, over the stile and to the house where Dad is doing the crossword in front of the range. I'm not sure how I have got this far through life, as a literature-loving New Zealander, without stumbling into her at the library, in class, or by being introduced by friends.

A quick look on Wikipedia reminded me of her poetically tragic
Lynda Spadaccini
have read it before and am reading it again. The amazing Ms Frame captures her depressive, difficult childhood with ease . The isolation both geographically and internally is beautifully explored, with perfectly placed observations on how a young Ms Frame dealt with the world sround her.

Finished now, such an inspiring woman, so quirky and honest. I have a crush on her ... again.
Dara Salley
At first I couldn’t remember why I added this book to my “to-read” list. Then I remember that it was because I saw the amazing movie “An Angel at My Table”. The movie shows the life of Janet Frame and dramatizes various parts of her three autobiographical novels. I found her story very compelling. She was a woman who grew up in poverty in New Zealand. She finds an outlet for her imagination by writing poetry and eventually becomes a world-acclaimed poet. First she has to overcome many obstacles ...more
Kathleen Dixon
A work colleague loaned me a good number of Janet Frame's novels some years ago. If I recall, there was only one that I particularly enjoyed (I wasn't keeping records so diligently then), but I kept reading them because I felt sure I was going to really love another. The thing is, I love her prose - she puts words together beautifully - but I the novels difficult, mostly.

This first volume of the three-volume autobiography, on the other hand, has appealed to me enormously. Here, in the story of h
Was an okay book, took a bit to get in to and I don't particularly like the life that she describes it's depressing.
I loved this autobiography. Janet Frame takes us from the innocence of childhood into a self conscious adolescence. A great portrayal of family and sisterhood. The family struggles with poverty and makes the most out of small things and events. Janet is transported by literature and brings a romantic interpretation to her landscape.
I'm not sure yet if this is a 2 or a 5. Hm! I want to read the rest of the autobiography before I decide. There are moments when I think it's kind of banal, and moments when I think her project is extraordinarily interesting.
april violet
I made it halfway through this book before I returned it to the library. I suppose I'm not in the right frame (pardon the pun) of mind for it. Janet Frame's prose is a bit plain here compared to that in her fiction.
I read this when it first came out and was captivated - then had to wait impatiently for the next volume
I have the 3 in the set and it's time to read them again!
Apr 02, 2013 Ellen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Read Sarah's review:I she says that there is lots of poetic writing. Maybe liz would enjoy this book.
I read this for a speech exam quite a while ago, but I did actually enjoy it much more than I expected.
Edward Sargisson
Quite good. Better than most autobiographies. She is a writer after all.
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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)
  • An Angel at my Table (Autobiography, #2)
  • The Envoy from Mirror City: An Autobiography (Autobiography, #3)
An Angel at my Table (Autobiography, #2) Faces in the Water Owls Do Cry Janet Frame: An Autobiography Towards Another Summer

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“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 of truths and its direction always toward the Third Place, where the starting point is myth.” 5 likes
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