Faces in the Water - Janet Frame

Virago Modern Classics


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Faces in the Water by Janet Frame, introduction by Hilary Mantel / ISBN 9780349011141 / 224-page paperback with flaps from Virago Modern Classics


'One of the most impressive accounts of madness to be found in literature'--Anita Brookner

'Janet Frame's luminous words are the more precious because they were snatched from the jaws of the disaster of her early life . . . and yet to read her is no more difficult than breathing'--Hilary Mantel

'Janet Frame is the greatest New Zealand writer. She is utterly herself. Any one of her books could be published today and it would be ground-breaking'--Eleanor Catton

'I was now an established citizen with little hope of returning across the frontier; I was in the crazy world, separated now by more than locked doors and barred windows from the people who called themselves sane.'

When Janet Frame's doctor suggested that she write about her traumatic experiences in mental institutions in order to free herself from them, the result was Faces in the Water, a powerful and poignant novel.

Istina Mavet descends through increasingly desolate wards, with the threat of leucotomy ever present. As she observes her fellow patients, long dismissed by hospital staff with humor and compassion, she reveals her original and questing mind. This riveting novel became an international classic, translated into nine languages, and has also been used as a medical school text.

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