An Angel at My Table: The Complete Autobiography
The autobiography of New Zealand's most significant writerNew Zealand's preeminent writer Janet Frame brings the skill of an extraordinary novelist and poet to these vivid and haunting recollections, gathered here for the first time in a single volume. From a childhood and adolescence spent in a poor but intellectually intense railway family, through life as a student, and years of incarceration in mental hospitals, eventually followed by her entry into the saving world of writers and the "Mirror City" that sustains them, we are given not only a record of the events of a life, but also "the transformation of ordinary facts and ideas into a shining palace of mirrors."
Frame's journey of self-discovery, from New Zealand to London, to Paris and Barcelona, and then home again, is a heartfelt and courageous account of a writer's beginnings as well as one woman's personal struggle to survive.
This book contains selections from the long out-of-print collection entitled Janet Frame: An Autobiography (George Brazillier, 1991), which itself was originally published in three volumes: To the Is-land, An Angel at My Table, and The Envoy from Mirror City.
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A sty in my eye was cured by the 'pitties,' not, as I was told, by the pixies. I sang, '
God Save our Gracious Tin.' I drank 'mook.' The new baby that came when I was
twenty months old and was named Isabel became, for me, 'Iddabull.
While Myrtle and I became best friends and Dots and Chicks became best friends
, admitting to their play Molly Robson over the road, Bruddie was ill, day after day
and night after night, while Mother looked after him and searched for a 'cure.
When, however, it became clear that the answer was not 'the spine,' Mother
accepted an opinion that said, 'It could be his eyes.' Then followed daylong
journeys in the train to Timaru to see the 'eye doctor.' Next —perhaps it was the
Mother sought the poets not necessarily for their poems but for the romantic idea
of them, as if they might be a more tangible Second Coming, and when she
began her familiar praise of them, Dad became jealous, as he became jealous of
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