Friday, September 13, 2013

Between My Father and the King by Janet Frame

Janet Frame was an award winning author from New Zealand. Between My Father and the King, a collection of some of her previously unpublished and uncollected short stories, is an excellent introduction to this talented author who died in 2004. The stories, many told from the point of view of children or spouses in working class families, are stories of hope and disappointment. The best plums grow on the neighbor’s side of the fence. A vagrant’s book collection is not worth a fortune. Grandmother, on her first visit, does not live up to her grandchildren’s expectations. The daughter who was given a lovely lace dress is not allowed to attend the dance. And the King does not sufficiently appreciate the father’s service in World War I. In these and other stories, the author creates a true voice for a child or adult who hasn't got much in life except acute powers of observation. The reader can feel the anticipation of having a new dress, plum jam, hot scones, a cup of tea, a visitor, a new piece of furniture or set of dishes. And when the anticipation leads to yet another disappointment, the resigned acceptance of those used to disappointment makes each story heart-breaking but not maudlin.

Check out Between My Father and the King @ the library!