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a night at the opera

For us Kiwis, Janet Frame is an icon – same for most of the literary world. I finally made my way through a stack of New Yorkers this week only to discover a newly discovered story of hers. The last paragraph left me breathless – it is a remarkable piece of writing:

So we went to bed, assaulted by sleep that fumed at us from medicine glasses, or was wielded from small sweet-coated tablets—dainty bricks of dream wrapped in the silk stockings of oblivion. The shutters were closed across the wooden moon. Outside, in the hospital grounds, where the gardens were, a fake wind shook the cardboard trees in a riot of collapsing mirth. Then the day’s thin scenery toppled over, revealing the true dark. A real wind came blowing clearly, without pretense or laughter, from the cold actual sea, and spread its layers of knives across the empty stage. Unless it was protected by some miracle of faith, tomorrow would bleed, walking here.

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