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In the Memorial Roomby Janet Frame
Synopses & Reviews
Harry Gill, a moderately successful writer of historical fiction, has been awarded the annual Watercress-Armstrong Fellowship—a living memorial to the poet, Margaret Rose Hurndell. He arrives in the small French village of Menton, where Hurndell once lived and worked, to write. But the Memorial Room is not suitable—it has no electricity or water. Hurndell never wrote here, though it is expected of Harry.
Janet Frames previously unpublished novel draws on her own experiences in Menton, France as a Katherine Mansfield Fellow. It is a wonderful social satire, a send-up of the cult of the dead author, and—in the best tradition of Frame—a fascinating exploration of the complexity and the beauty of language.
"Prolific New Zealander Frame (An Angel at My Table) wrote this novel in 1974, but embargoed publication during her lifetime. Frame draws on her time in Menton, France, as a Katherine Mansfield Fellow, in portraying historical fiction writer Harry Gill's travails after being awarded the annual Watercress-Armstrong Fellowship. The award, given in honor of the (fictional) poet Margaret Rose Hurndell, requires him to travel to Menton, where Hurndell once lived. Harry finds himself struggling to turn his good fortune into productivity. He is expected to do his writing in the dilapidated Rose Hurndell Memorial Room, but finds himself unable to complete anything there. Hurndell's admirers interrupt Harry regularly, and the entire town seems more interested in the idea of having a writer around than in the work itself. While Hurndell's memory is complacently worshipped, Harry struggles with his eyesight and his general invisibility among the townspeople. In her signature eclectic style, Frame has crafted both a canny commentary on literary fame and hero worship and a heartfelt meditation on what it means to be a writer." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Janet Frame is one of New Zealands greatest writers. Born in Dunedin in 1924, she published twenty-one books in her lifetime and several posthumously. Her autobiographical work An Angel at My Table was made into a television series by Jane Campion in 1990. Janet Frame died in 2004.
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