Prizes: Selected Short Stories

Janet Frame, Author Counterpoint LLC $26 (294p) ISBN 978-1-58243-515-2
This rich sampling of work by New Zealand's Frame (1924-2004) ranges from her earliest stories, written while she was confined to a mental institution, to her latest, produced after earning her place as one of the country's best writers. The collection is divided into four phases. The first focuses on childhood-the alien lives of cousins, the loss of a sister, and a visceral day in the sand. The next section contains fables and fantasies, a jarring genre change if reading straight through: anthropomorphized Daylight and Dust go on holiday, two sheep converse on the way to the slaughterhouse. The third section, Reservoir: Stories and Sketches, presents the more subtle charms of Frames' keen eye for detail and poetic language: ""a cluster of rowan berries,"" ""rainbows that won't recede,"" ""a blossoming plant warmed by a poet's breath."" Amidst these glowing details, Frame locates loneliness, fear and judgement. The final round of stories concern growing up and growing old, as well as identities lost and found. This is a fine look at Frame's life through her immortalizing fiction.
Reviewed on: 12/14/2009
Release date: 12/01/2009
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Paperback - 294 pages - 978-1-58243-620-3
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