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Un angelo alla mia tavola (Janet Frame Autobiography #1-3)

4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,254 Ratings  ·  81 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.
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 liked it  ·  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
May 12, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, 2014

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
Jan 15, 2012 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 14, 2010 Margherita Dolcevita rated it it was amazing
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 :-) !
Sep 28, 2007 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 20, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bettie, Carey
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.....
Nov 27, 2015 Lindz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 10, 2013 Kim Pertinence rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 12, 2013 Della O'Shea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Michael Burge
Oct 16, 2015 Michael Burge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An extended right of reply on her schizophrenia misdiagnosis, this book is Janet Frame's explanation of what was going on behind the apprehension and apparent mental illness all those years.

Exploration of state-of-mind was Frame's stock-in-trade, and in this collection she turns the focus explicitly on herself, showing how reticence was interpreted as madness, and how close her modernist writer's mind came to destruction at the hands of a mental health system that almost lobotomised her.

Yet Fra
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.

Nov 20, 2014 Steven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, women
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
Mar 17, 2012 Charlotte rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 16, 2012 Yvette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 17, 2013 Bronwyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 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
Jan 28, 2013 Marni McClure rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Watched the series in New Zealand & was very excited to get my hands on a copy.
Drei Sterne: Das wirkt jetzt vielleicht kritischer, als es gemeint ist. Die gute Janet Frame ist hier eine Leidtragende meines Vorsatzes, ein wenig geiziger mit den Sternen zu sein. Aber es steht außer Frage, dass dies ein sehr gutes Buch ist. "Ein Engel an meiner Tafel" ist die Autobiografie (bzw. der mittlere von drei Bänden der Autobiografie) einer Frau, die anders ist, und die dafür bezahlen muss, dass sie anders ist.
Janet Frame stammt aus einer eher armen Familie, die von Schicksal gebeute
I decided to read this book after reading (and loving) Faces in the Water. I am extremely interested in books about mental illness/mental health, so I was intrigued to know more about the actual life of the author. I knew she had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and had later found out she had never had it instead, and I was very curious to read about this.

Instead, I found something different, something which doesn't concentrate so much on Frame's apparent illness. This is good in a way, becau
Jun 22, 2015 Nadeya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 02, 2013 Ilana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
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
Jun 21, 2010 Alison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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  • The Penguin History of New Zealand
  • In My Father's Den
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  • Ways Of Escape
  • Pounamu Pounamu
  • The Diary of Alice James
  • Father and Son
  • Journal of Katherine Mansfield
  • Journals, 1889-1949 (Penguin Modern Classics)
  • The Book of Fame
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  • Baby No-Eyes
  • My Place
  • The Unquiet Grave: A Word Cycle by Palinurus
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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)

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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..” 21 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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