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    Living in the Maniototo (Paperback) By (author) Janet Frame

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    Title
    Living in the Maniototo
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Janet Frame
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 256
    Width: 120 mm
    Height: 180 mm
    Thickness: 11 mm
    Weight: 182 g
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9780704338678
    ISBN 10: 070433867X
    Classifications

    BIC E4L: GEN
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: F1.1
    LC subject heading:
    DC21: 823
    BIC subject category V2: FA
    LC subject heading:
    BISAC V2.8: FIC000000
    Thema V1.0: FBA
    Publisher
    The Women's Press Ltd
    Imprint name
    The Women's Press Ltd
    Publication date
    01 March 1981
    Publication City/Country
    London
    Review text
    New Zealand's Frame is a crafty, if occasionally murky, writer. Here, though, her multiple surfaces lock up to produce something thoughtful and very fissionable: a "replica or a replica dreaming of a replica of dreams," i.e., fiction-writing. Mavis Halleton, a widowed New Zealand writer (who thinks of herself too as Violet Pansy Proudlock, a ventriloquist, and as Alice Thumb, eavesdropper and gossip), visits a doctor friend in Baltimore. While there she hears from an older, childless Berkeley couple, the Garretts, who are great admirers of Mavis' work; they invite her to take over their house while they're away in Italy for six weeks: she can write there in peace. Mavis accepts and moves in. But then she hears that the Garretts have been killed in an earthquake in Italy, and their will leaves the house to her. As though this were not enough, the couple before their death had invited two other couples as houseguests - and these four in turn arrive, driving Mavis into the basement to be out of their way. This comedy of coincidence and implausibility is sheer puppetry, of course: the Garretts' house is the house of fiction which Mavis, with the "generosity and forgiveness of words," has totally invented. Frame's satire on California personalities is a bit tired, but her gaily played-out metaphor of invention, living in the "manifold," retains a lively snap. She treats the book like one of those miniature glass balls which snows when you shake it. Playful, deft work, then, by a writer of eccentric strengths. (Kirkus Reviews)