Happy New Year! Frame fans will be happy to hear that Gorse is Not People, the superb book of new stories by Janet Frame, was a bestseller for the 2012 year - number 10 on the Nielsen BookScan list of 2012's best selling NZ Fiction titles for adults.
This is no mean achievement given that in New Zealand there is still an unfortunate and outdated negative attitude towards Janet Frame in some quarters, that has led to some book chains refusing to stock her books. So you won't find this highly attractive and readable book of stories, that has charmed reviewers, on the shelves at The Warehouse or in the Take Note chain (the discount wing of Paper Plus) or even many Whitcoulls stores. Even though Gorse has consistently featured on the bestseller lists in the six months since its release, reaching the number one and two spots half a dozen times, it can be hard to find in a book shop, even in the Indy book shops, because they are not immune from being infected by toxic cultural myths. But you'll always be able to locate the historical romances that dominate the bestseller lists.
For some unknown reasons of their own, the staff at the Booksellers New Zealand head office have actively prevented Gorse is Not People from being reviewed on Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon book review spot, despite several approaches to them months before, at the time of, and shortly after Gorse was published. Gorse was the only notable NZ fiction release of 2012 that was not reviewed on Nine to Noon, and neither Booksellers New Zealand nor Radio New Zealand has been able to explain why Janet Frame's book was singled out for this snub.
So well done Janet Frame for once again evading the gate keepers that always envied your success and tried to put you down and sabotage your reputation! And well done to determined book buyers!
And thank goodness for online booksellers!
This highly acclaimed collection of mostly new stories will be published this Spring in the USA under the title Between My Father and the King.
It's interesting to note that Janet Frame's award-winning poetry is also represented on the 2012 NZ Fiction Bestseller chart at number 5 in Dear Heart: 150 New Zealand Love Poems - an endearing illustrated anthology that has been extremely popular with New Zealand book buyers. Two poems by Janet Frame feature in this collection.