Faces in the Water
by Janet Frame

March, 1982
Paperback, 254 pages
5.4 x 8.1 inches

ISBN-13: 978-0807609576
$12.95 (Can $14.95)








Narrated entirely from the viewpoint of a young insane woman, this novel provides a moving description of the horrific conditions in two New Zealand mental institutions.

Written with unsparing precision and astounding immediacy, Faces in the Water takes the reader behind the walls of two hospitals—Cliffhaven and Treecroft—and into the hearts and minds of its confused and tormented patients. The experience of insanity and “the utter, the naked precariousness of existence” is conveyed with extraordinary insight and poetic brilliance.

“Miss Frame, a New Zealander, is endowed with a poet’s imagination, and her prose has beauty, precision, a surging momentum, and the quality of constant surprise....[She] has, unquestionably, written an extremely fine book.”
—The Atlantic

“Faces in the Water is especially brilliant in its descriptions of what happens inside the patient’s mind....[Frame’s] writing is sensitive, and her evocation of madness unforgettable.”
—Time Magazine

"Miss Frame shows an insight into the minds and lives of other patients which brings them back into the scope of art. And her skill at penetrating the feelings of the staff unites patients and staff in such a way as to make them all, however whirling, members of the same tragic microcosm. In freshness of language and vision Miss Frame is the most remarkable New Zealand writer since Katherine Mansfield and Frank Sargeson."
—The Times Literary Supplement


Janet Frame is the author of eleven novels, among them the highly acclaimed A State of Siege, Faces in the Water, and The Carpathians, as well as several collections of stories and sketches, and one volume of poetry. She has been honored with many awards, including the New Zealand Literary Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize.