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The Boston Globe


Book review

‘Between My Father and the King’ by Janet Frame

The late New Zealand literary master Janet Frame’s inimitable voice — poetic, acerbic, piercing — is as fresh now as a half-century ago, when her stories and novels were drawing international attention. The 28 stories in her new posthumous collection are a reminder of her legendary storytelling gift and of the miraculous ways in which her life as a writer evolved.

Frame was misdiagnosed as schizophrenic in early adulthood. Beginning in 1945, she spent eight years in and out of psychiatric institutions, enduring 200 electroshock treatments. (She describes this period in her autobiography as “a concentrated course in the horrors of insanity.”) She was saved from a lobotomy when her first collection, “The Lagoon and Other Stories,’’ won the 1952 PEN-sponsored Hubert Church Memorial award.

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