Sunday, December 21, 2008

One thousand and one great books

The second edition of the popular 1001 books you must read before you die has been released.

The list of 1001 books appears all around the internet and many readers challenge themselves to catch up with some of the great classics of world literature listed there.

Janet Frame's FACES IN THE WATER featured on the list in the first edition, and it's not surprising to see this powerful and influential novel listed again in the second edition.
Here are a couple of highlights from the 1001 Books article on FACES IN THE WATER:

'Faces in the Water is one of the most powerful descriptions of mental illness ever written. Although a work of fiction, the novel is informed by Janet Frame's own experience as a patient (wrongly diagnosed with schizophrenia) in a New Zealand mental asylum.'

'The book is a biting critique of the gross power differential between medical "professional" and patient. While the skillful way in which the novel makes this point is enough to make it memorable, the prose's striking quality elevates it to a truly great novel. Istina's thoughts and narrative descriptions combine an accomplished lyricism with the fractured digressions symptomatic of psychological trauma.'

The current Random House New Zealand edition, paired with another early Frame novel

The current Australian edition, from Vintage Australia.

A new edition of Faces in the Water is soon to be released by Virago in the UK.
Novelist Hilary Mantel has written an exquisitely beautiful and perceptive introduction for this volume that really must not be missed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If any of you or your readers are interested in charting their progress with any of Janet Frame's novels or others on the 1001 list, there's a free copy of the 1001 spreadsheet available at Arukiyomi if you want.

I've yet to read any of Frame's books but, one of the great things about this list is that I often read authors like her which others love and which I've never heard of.