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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Faces in the Water (1961) by Janet Frame

Author Janet Frame was memorably portrayed by Alexia Keogh- who never acted again- in Jane Campion's Janet Frame Bio-pic, Angel at My Table
Book Review
Faces in the Water (1961)
by Janet Frame

  Kiwi author Janet Frame was famously sprung from a long term psychiatric hospitalization just before she was scheduled to undergo a lobotomy.   Her story was movingly told by Jane Campion in the 1990 film, An Angel at My Table, which more or less gave a straight take on Frame's early life and everything up to and past her hospitalization.   Frame in the Water focuses almost exclusively on her period of hospitalization.    I can't think of an earlier narrative of institutionalization, unless you want to go back to the Marquis de Sade.  Frame was ahead of her time, but only just, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest would firmly establish the institutionalization narrative as a viable genre in 1962.  On the strength of her early work and her gripping biography, she crafted a respectable career, though she was never a serious contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature, and she never won the Booker Award.

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