Between My Father and the King: New and Uncollected Stories

Between My Father and the King: New and Uncollected Stories

by Janet Frame
     
 

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This brand new collection of 28 short stories spans the length of Frame’s career and contains some of the best she wrote. None of these stories have been published in a collection before, and more than half are published for the first time in Between My Father and the King.

The piece 'Gorse is Not People' caused Frame a setback in 1954, when Charles

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Overview


This brand new collection of 28 short stories spans the length of Frame’s career and contains some of the best she wrote. None of these stories have been published in a collection before, and more than half are published for the first time in Between My Father and the King.

The piece 'Gorse is Not People' caused Frame a setback in 1954, when Charles Brasch rejected it for publication in Landfall and, along with others for one reason or other, deliberately remained unpublished during her lifetime. Previously published pieces have appeared in Harper's Bazaar, the NZ Listener, the New Zealand School Journal, Landfall and The New Yorker over the years, and one otherwise unpublished piece, 'The Gravy Boat', was read aloud by Frame for a radio broadcast in 1953.

In these stories readers will recognize familiar themes, scenes, characters and locations from Frame's writing and life, and each offers a fresh fictional transformation that will captivate and absorb.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Alison McCulloch
Much of Frame's New Zealand is gone…The Gothic psychiatric hospitals and the "mental defectives" laws that funneled patients into them, including Frame herself; rehabilitation loans from the king, like the one her father received after World War I; and those old-style health inspectors who crop up in both her life story and her fiction as villains who condemn poor people's homes and send unsanitary pets to their deaths. There's a lot of this bygone New Zealand in Between My Father and the King: New and Uncollected Stories…But…so much of Frame's writing simply endures, no matter the place or time.
Publishers Weekly
Acclaimed New Zealander Frame (1924–2004) left behind a legacy of exceptional writing, both fiction and nonfiction, and this new collection of 28 short stories that span her career (many of which have never been published) showcases her extraordinary gifts as an imaginative storyteller with a singular viewpoint. Frame grasps an image and the emotion behind it in a few spare words. In “The Plum Tree and the Hammock,” she inhabits the mind of a young girl whose heart belongs to a boy who “cycled by in a flash of handsome pallor on his black and silver bicycle.” And in “The Birds of the Air,” she describes the anticipation of a grandmother’s visit: “an excitement like Christmas enhanced our lives.” Even the weather, in “I Got a Shoes,” is transformed by Frame’s lovely vision: “It rained big drops, pelting down hard like a punishment.” The chilling observations of “A Night at the Opera,” where a building housing “disturbed” patients is viewed as “a dirty brick imbecile waiting for food”; and “Gorse is not People,” whose heartbreaking Naida—a woman institutionalized for being a dwarf—believes that by turning 21 she can leave the mental hospital where she’s been housed for 11 years, were clearly inspired by the author’s own time in a mental institution. These stories—with themes of despair, disappointment, and wonder, underscored by Frame’s melancholy and vivid turns of phrase—are beautifully rendered. (May)
From the Publisher

Praise for Between My Father and the King

“This new collection of 28 short stories that span [Frame’s] career (many of which have never been published) showcases her extraordinary gifts as an imaginative storyteller with a singular viewpoint. . .These stories—with themes of despair, disappointment, and wonder, underscored by Frame’s melancholy and vivid turns of phrase—are beautifully rendered.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A powerful collection." —Kirkus

"Frame’s ability to distill an experience and sometimes an entire life into a few pages was remarkable. Her characters yearn, and ache, and are overtaken by wonder. She was an emotional cartographer of the highest order, one who deeply understood the inner workings of the human heart."—The Rumpus

"The title story stands as the epitome of her traits and merits in the short form. It is a tight, first-person, tongue-in-cheek remembrance of the narrator’s father’s debt to the English king for money borrowed to buy new furniture—and of how the king’s representative just might stop in at any time to make certain the furniture is being well taken care of! This and all the other stories in the collection demonstrate writerly genius in every sentence, are told with charming and often wicked wit, boast visual images conjured with nimble wordplay (“The sky sagged in the middle, there didn’t seem to be enough head-room”), and display a warm intimacy between the author and her prose as she writes close to the psychological and autobiographical bone."—Booklist

Kirkus Reviews
A treasure-trove of stories, from the very earliest she ever published, to work published posthumously, from the late, great Frame. Frame (1924-2004)--author of more than 20 books in multiple genres, winner of every literary prize she was eligible for in her native New Zealand, honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Literature--is a master. Thirteen of the 28 stories in this collection were unpublished in her lifetime, though one of the best, "The Gravy Boat," was read aloud by the author on radio in 1953. The gravy boat, part of a set of china given to a retiring "Locomotive engineer," leaves the recipient at sea. "I Got a Shoes," "A Night at the Opera" and "Gorse is Not People" concern themselves with the insane and the institutions where they waste away, patronized and abused. All harrowing, the latter two are masterpieces. "The Wind Brother" is a fairy tale, "The Silkworms" a savage parody of the big fish in the small pond, "Gavin Highly" a piercing parable about the difference between meaning and value. According to the notes, many of the stories may be autobiographical; many cover material that Frame treated elsewhere. A mere 30 pages, "The Big Money" is the longest story. Told from the perspective of a youngest son, it follows the descent of a family, from gentle semirural poverty to urban squalor and tragedy, and hinges on a single hilarious misunderstanding. All overflow with dazzling observation and unforgettable metaphor: "a blue vein, like the thin giggle from inside a fish, lying, throbbing, under his skin." A powerful collection.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781619023208
Publisher:
Counterpoint Press
Publication date:
05/13/2014
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,387,170
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

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