Frame, Janet. Angel at My Table: An Autobiography: Volume Two. New York: George Braziller, 1984
Reason read: to continue the autobiography started in April in honor of New Zealand’s Anzac Day.
Angel at My Table being the second volume in Janet Frame’s autobiography, covers her unwillingness to become a teacher, a myriad of mental health struggles, and Frame’s continued desire to impress people as a “true” poet. Despite being at the University for a teaching career Frame was dead set against becoming an educator. When it came time for her to be observed in the classroom she simply excused herself and walked out, never to return again. All she wanted to do was write and it was her ability to do so that ultimately saved her. Scheduled to have an lobotomy, her book, The Lagoon, a volume of short stories, was published just in time for her to receive a stay of operation. From there Frame floundered trying to make a living until she met Frank Sargeson. As a fellow writer he was able to develop a partnership and mentorship that ultimately shaped Frame’s future. At the end of Angel at My Table we leave Frame as she is ready to embark on a new journey; leaving New Zealand for the first time.
Lines to like, “Nola suffered from asthma and the complication of being in a family of brilliant beautiful people” (p 110) and “There is a freedom born for the acknowledgement of greatness in literature, as if one gave away what one desired to keep, and in giving, there is new space cleared for growth, an onrush of a new season beneath a secret sun” (p 153).
Author fact: When Frame died obituaries called her New Zealand’s “best known but least public” writer.
Book trivia: Angel at My Table was made into a movie in 1990, starring Kerry Fox.
Nancy said: Not much. She just mentioned that Frame’s second book was made into a movie.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Kiwis Forever!: New Zealand in Print” (p 123).