In the Memorial Room - Janet Frame

In the Memorial Room

By: Janet Frame

Hardcover | 24 April 2013

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In the Memorial Room is a brilliant black comedy, by the celebrated author of An Angel at My Table. Harry Gill, a moderately successful writer of historical fiction, has been awarded the annual Watercress-Armstrong Fellowship-a 'living memorial' to the poet, Margaret Rose Hurndell. He arrives in the French Riviera town of Menton, where Hurndell once lived and worked, to write. But the Memorial Room is not suitable-it has no electricity or water. Hurndell never wrote here, though it is expected of Harry. Janet Frame's previously unpublished novel draws on her own experiences in Menton, France as a Katherine Mansfield Fellow. It is a wonderful social satire, a send-up of the cult of the dead author, and-in the best tradition of Frame-a fascinating exploration of the complexity and the beauty of language.

Read Caroline Baum's Review:

Well, who'd have thought! Forget the thin skinned sensitivity of the Janet Frame you associate with An Angel at My Table. This gem, written in in the 70s but unpublished until now (why?) shows a very different and much lighter personality. Harry Gill is thirty-three, and a moderately successful writer in New Zealand when he wins a literary fellowship named after a poet, Margaret Rose Hurndell. When he arrives in the Riviera town of Menton to take up the fellowship he discovers that the Memorial Room where he is expected to write is completely inadequate. A coterie of bored retired expats who fancy themselves as keepers of the Hurndell flame vie for him as their tenant while Harry discovers to his horror that his eyesight and his hearing are failing. A deliciously mischievous piece of fun, this is sharp social satire, ruthless in its mockery of literary pretension.

About the Author

Janet Frame is one of New Zealand's greatest writers. Born in Dunedin in 1924, she published twenty-one books in her lifetime and several posthumously. Her autobiography An Angel at My Table was made into a television series by Jane Campion in 1990. Janet Frame died in 2004.
Industry Reviews
'In the Memorial Room is filled with terrifyingly beautiful reflections on how writing books (and even reading them) can feel like digging your own grave. It also serves as a sly warning to those of us who obsessively cherish the works of dead writers - even writers as good as Janet Frame. Watch out! The death you memorialize may well be your own.' * New York Times Book Review *
'Frame's sentences are marvels, winding like narrow alleys through hill towns: They open spectacular vistas. Brilliant.' -- Kirkus Reviews
'Delightful, funny and profound.' * Metro Magazine (NZ) *
'Not just a brilliant novel but a considered and poignant posthumous literary act, a curtain call by one of the world's greatest authors...A deeply funny book.' * Weekend Australian *
'[In the Memorial Room] is a formidable work. It is also amusing, satirical, poetic and provocative - a real joy to read.' * Sunday Star Times *
'Reading this is like finding an unwrapped gift long-hidden at the back of the wardrobe. The novel is quite unlike anything else Frame penned, yet she is recognisable in every pore of every sentence and of every word. Her love of language is infectious and so, too, is her sense of humour.' * NZ Herald *
'A deliciously mischievous piece of fun, this is sharp social satire, ruthless in its mockery of literary pretension.' -- Caroline Baum, Booktopia
'The writing is exactly what we expect from Frame - gorgeous, delirious and shining with delight.' -- bookiemonster.co.nz
'The layers of meaning and reference, autobiographical elements, vivid and poetic language, characterisation and satire in Frame's second posthumously published novel In the Memorial Room show again why she is one of New Zealand's literary greats.' * Otago Daily Times *
'A beautifully crafted artistic and philosophical creation that explores the nature of communication and exposes Frame's love of language.' * Library Journal *

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