Book sixteen


The Lagoon

Janet Frame

New Zealand


I’ve said it before and I’ll say again; I love short stories! This collection, this first of four such by the author, is beautiful; a marvelous golden thread woven through the dark black canvas of a tormented life. So many of our greatest authors, painters, poets or playwrights live lives straddling the intersection of madness and passion; few of them actually spent years in a mental hospital.


Frame was days away from having a lobotomy performed on her when this very collection was published and awarded one of the countries top literary awards. They changed their minds about the operation…it was one of those occasions when you have to wonder just who is sane and who is insane. She went on to write 11 novels, poetry, an autobiography, poetry and children’s stories; what a close call that was to have lost such a vivid and perceptive voice would have been criminal and barbaric!


The stories are beautifully written, full of passion, love, life, sadness and despair. Even the shortest of the short stories are packed with the sharpest of vision and clear sight. The characters struggle as we all must with our own hardships and demons and are at the same time believable and strong.


Not a superfluous note in the symphony! A true voice of true human emotion full of innocence and maturity simultaneously; a writer I will revisit happily in the years to come.


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