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Gifted

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  50 ratings  ·  12 reviews
One day in 1955, the “father of New Zealand fiction” finds a young woman on his doorstep. A writer herself, she has recently emerged from a lengthy stay in the hospital for mental health problems and is seeking a safe place to live and write. The woman is Janet Frame, and the man who willingly takes her in is Frank Sargeson. Imaginative and intriguing, this novel explores ...more
Paperback, 303 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Victoria University Press (first published September 2010)
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  50 ratings  ·  12 reviews


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Susan Pearce
May 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Feb 14th
Below, in my earlier review, you have it: the proof that I was happily persuaded, via a narrative I knew was fictional, that I 'understood' Frame more thoroughly than I did before reading Gifted. This type of (in my case willing) delusion is just one of the reasons for the recent outraged and abusive post by Pamela Gordon, Frame's niece and the executor of her estate.

As a writer and reader, I object to her objections.

I don't think 'cultural appropriation' is a crime, unless the new art
...more
Helen Varley
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
this is a very enjoyable read that brings to life two of new zealand's most famous writers, laced with humour and literary references. the characters of janet frame and frank sargeson are skillfully and richly created through their language and actions - it's a work of fiction, but anyone who has read something of either writer will recognise them. 1950s New Zealand and a particular lifestyle from that time is also beautifully evoked.
Lisa
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: Patrick Evans
Shelves: new-zealand, c21st, satire
I discovered Kiwi author Patrick Evans while reading The Back of His Head from the longlist for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and enjoyed his humour so much that I hunted out a copy of Gifted to read as well.

As Evans told us when he was featured in Meet a Kiwi author, Gifted and The Back of His Head are parts 1 and 3 of a trilogy drawn from his familiarity with the writing of Janet Frame. (No2 is yet to be written). Gifted is about her brief time living with the author Frank Sargeson (1903-
...more
Megan
Dec 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
I sometimes worry about authors trying to inhabit real characters. However, with this book I had to keep reminding myself that Frank was actually Patrick, for two reasons.
Firstly, Evans seems to have a real affinity for and understanding Sargeson and his time. Rarely do the colloqialisms and the setting feel contrived. This is a book that feels very set in its time, the fifties, at the emergence of a sense of New Zealand literature beginning to have a place and validity. Sargeson, as Evans has h
...more
Sarah Laing
Apr 30, 2011 rated it liked it
I wanted to love this - in some ways I did love it - but I found it hard work. Maybe because it was too real - I have been inside Frank Sargeson's cottage, I have seen his dressing gown hanging on the back of a door. Frank's remark about the cottage becoming a shrine pinged off the page in a self-conscious way. And somehow the cottage described seemed to be of a different configuration from the cottage in my memory. I found the elusiveness a bit frustrating - why couldn't Evans spell out Frank a ...more
Kelly Egan
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing

This was one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. As a huge Frank and Janet fan, thanks to Patrick's lectures on them many years ago, I was excited to read this book and definitely wasn't let down. Patrick's portrayal of Frank is stunning! I loved how honest and homegrown he felt. I thought his representation of Janet through Frank's eyes was deeply moving and at times hilarious. This is a book I plan to return to time and again, which is saying something, because I barely ever read a bo
...more
Robert Ditterich
Apr 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
The story here of an established writer giving shelter to a gifted but troubled would-be writer is full of lovely human tangents and philosophical hickups. Janet Frame's was not the sort of mind that Frank expected to be assisting, and Evans has beautifully sculpted a disruptive and challenging meeting (and not-quite-meeting) of minds and world views.
My struggle though was in the wordiness of it as the author attempted to create a time and style suitable to represent the voice of 'the father of
...more
Michael
Mar 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have heard in passing Janet Frame but am totally clueless about Frank Sargeson, the father of New Zealand fiction. This novel had a wonderful grounded, earthy quality to it. You can almost feel the salty air from the sea flowing between the pages. There are no literary pyrotechnics in the proses and it reads well, almost well-mannered.
Helen Heath
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Honestly the best New Zealand novel I've read in years.
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Feb 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-books
book 16 of 2011 - aim 133 books for 2011
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Patrick Evans lives in Christchurch and has taught New Zealand literature at the University of Canterbury since 1978.
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