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Wrestling with the Angel - A life of Janet Frame
By Michael King

Fame has been both alarming and lifesaving for Janet Frame, New Zealand's best-known writer. Shy, private, and leery of the stigma of her incarceration in psychiatric hospitals, she finally lifted the curtain on her unusual life in the 1980s when she wrote the three-volume autobiography that inspired Jane Campion's film, Angel at My Table (1990). Then in 1995, Frame, at 71 the author of 11 novels and five story collections, invited King to write a biography free of critical analysis of her work. He complied, and now presents a meticulously researched and quietly lucid account that captures the strangeness and trauma of Frame's tragedy-punctuated childhood and the appalling brutality of the treatments she endured after a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia. Saved from a lobotomy by the arrival of her first book in 1951, Frame, whose affliction, as King so gracefully reveals, was simply an artist's porousness to the world, has subsequently been watched over by mentors and friends--her angels--who recognize and treasure her rare powers and the need for solitude her lyrical and psychologically acute writing demands.

Hardback, first edition 2000, 583pages, good condition, shelf wear on cover edge, name in front

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