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Un angelo alla mia tavola
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Un angelo alla mia tavola

4.33 of 5 stars 4.33  ·  rating details  ·  452 ratings  ·  44 reviews
L'autobiografia in tre volumi di Janet Frame è stata salutata come un vero evento letterario. "L'isola del presente" racconta una infanzia e una adolescenza nella Nuova Zelanda degli anni '20 e '30, in cui le vicende familiari sono segnate dalla povertà e dal dramma. Nel secondo volume, "Un paese di fiumi", la timida adolescente si è trasformata in una donna dalla acuta se ...more
Paperback, 580 pages
Published 1996 by Einaudi (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.
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.
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
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
Paul Simon Grimsley
a brilliant, sad, compelling and beautiful story. this is one of the best autobiography's i have ever read.
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
Attie Lee
One of my favorite books. I like it so much I have passed it around to all my friends. Janet Frame was not afraid to share all aspects of her life good, bad and embarrassing. Perhaps that is why I liked it so much because she seemed to hold nothing back.
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
Angel lovers will be disappointed. There are no angels, real or imagined, in these memoirs.

Janet Frame's childhood was fascinating, growing up in New Zealand before the Second World War, but otherwise this book is completely devoid of joy.

Ever since she was a young woman, she believed she was ugly - and she was so socially awkward that she was misdiagnosed as having schizophrenia. She got locked up for a few years in a mental institute with real nut cases. Then she was spared having to undergo a
Years ago, I fell in love with the movie "An Angle at My Table" about author Janet Frame (as well as a little Robert Burns ditty contained therein, which launched my current career as a hack Celtic fiddler.) I decided to see what all the fuss was about by reading her entire 3-volume autobiography. Lovely prose, stunning childhood memories and descriptions, rather like a female Huck Finn in New Zealand. Perhaps when I'm done I'll actually check our her fictional works.

5/26/2012: trying this one
The bomb. Doesn't get any better.
To the Island and Angel at My Table are both autobiographical portrayals(I read them over 10 years ago). Angel at My Table, I believe, is the one that explores her childhood, and To the Is Land is a moving tale of her mental breakdown and long term hospitalization. It has a very New Zealand flavor, in that the prose is honest, stark, and fresh. She is highly esteemed in New Zealand. There was an excellent film made of Angel at My Table.
Kimberly Hoover

“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..”

-Janet Frame, Janet Frame: An Autobiography; Volume One : To the Is-Land, Volume Two : An Angel at My Table, Volume Three : The Envoy from Mirror City/ 3 Volumes

Donella Whiteman
Absolutely adore Janet Frame....have read her autobiography a few times over the years and hope to revisit again one day. A must read about the life of an extraordinary woman.
Anyone who thinks they'd like to be a writer will get something from this book. Ms Frame's constant self-doubt is somehow heartwarming, given her prolific and quality output. The story of her misdiagnosed schizophrenia is disturbing and distressing, and her descriptions of the poverty she grew up in are astonishing, mostly due to her never mentioning how appalling it must have been.
Veronica Preiss
May 30, 2010 Veronica Preiss rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: read-2010
curiouser and curiouser.
I'm not a great reader of biographies or autobiographies, but found this so compelling. But I found myself exclaiming to Rasma that it was impossible for it to end because the only ending would be JF's own death and she couldn't write that. Though I suppose the story of a life doesn't always end with its end - the life's written story ensures that...
Jaina Bee
One of the most miraculous things an author can do is to somehow twist your perception so you see the world through their idiosyncratic synapses. Your eyes see different angles in an unfamiliar light, your ears hear different frequencies, your senses have all squeezed through the microscopic pores of that imperceptible membrane which seems to separate us.
It's interesting that the film is what struck me as most fantastic; the writing and autobiography, mediocre and just. I guess that's the power of Jane Campion because I am like most snobbish types who claim that films do not do justice to a good story. Oh well, there are plenty of people who would disagree with my take on this piece of writing by Frame.
I am still working on this book. It is a long book and I have had many interruptions, but Frame's writing is exquisitely delicious and I want to curl up and savor the prose. Much reads more like poetry than prose. The opening few lines about the "Was-land" and "Is-land" are an extraordinary look at life.
I was a bit hesitant in reading this as I thought it would get bogged down in her years spent in institutions. How wrong I was. It is a lively and heart felt book, brilliantly written. There are more then a few LOL moments. It paints a vivid portrait of NZ and the times there and in england.
Beautiful, compelling, and idiosyncratic. Not a book to be breezed over, impossible for me to do so, but in the detail I felt as though I have lived that first part of her life with her. Reading this book was like completing a long run: hard work but ultimately rewarding.
This book is lyrical, poetic, heartbreaking, uplifting, and true. The story of Janet Frame's life is one of a quiet, misunderstood genius who was first punished, then rewarded for being herself. (Also, this was made into a brilliant film by Jane Campion.)
m raye
"...and on a more domestic level, of the icing set with which she would some day write (the ultimate domestic literacy) words and phrases on the Christmas and New Year cakes she baked each year. Words and phrases that could be eaten!"
Frame's oddysey as a human (or alien) of uncommon sensitivity makes clear how her novels could be written from the point of view of someone who has fallen to earth and does not know the rules inherent to social cruelty and mask-wearing.
Janet Frame was so shy and had a lot of personal problems but dedicated her life to writing and really made an impact. I was inspired and love her way with words. I'm sad she had already passed on before I discovered her.
Allyson Shaw
far-gone,/the inconceivably vast, the still-to-learn, serenely as a woman carrying water/ moves with a full jug..." Rilke, "The Grownup"

She is oh so very Rilkean-- speaking to angels of *things*
Janet Frame is one of my favorite authors. I picked up this book because I had been a fan of the movie "An Angel at My Table". I found the book to be incredibly moving. It's one of my favorites.
What an amazing account of her life, through the great depression, stints in mental hospitals, and becoming a writer. I wanted to start over again when I finished it.
Terri Regala
I stumbled upon the movie out of curiosity and fell in love with the chubby girl with the wild red hair, clearly genius was mistaken for insanity.
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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, #2) Owls Do Cry Faces in the Water To the Is-land: An Autobiography (Autobiography, #1) Towards Another Summer

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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..” 15 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.” 9 likes
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