Towards Another Summer, By Janet Frame

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The Independent Culture

Considered too autobiographical to be published in her lifetime (she died in 2004), Janet Frame's 1963 novel is narrated by Grace Cleve, a "self-styled" writer from New Zealand.

Newly arrived in London, she is invited away for the weekend by a journalist and his wife. She accepts, despite her fear of being with people for longer than "five or ten minutes".

Her internal monologue is interwoven with the small talk of the stay. In moments of high anxiety, Grace takes refuge in the past, imagining herself a "migratory bird". Published the same year as The Bell Jar, Frame's mental state is debated almost as much as her fiction.