Owls Do Cry ePUB ¾ Owls Do PDF/EPUB or

Set in provincial pre 1940s New Zealand Owls Do Cry explores the Withers family in particular Daphne Withers When one of Daphne's sisters dies a crisis is provoked that leads Daphne to a mental asylum where she receives shock treatment Her voice from the Dead Room haunts the novel with its poetic insights

10 thoughts on “Owls Do Cry

  1. says:

    Did I enjoy reading this? No but that is because of the subject matter This is a book about the mentally ill the physically ill aging and death It records the darker side of human behavior how humans behave toward the impoverished the ill and the aging The portrayal is uncomfortably accurate This was Janet Frame's first novel and it has strong autobiographical elements She was incorrectly institutionalized as a schizophrenic She was institutionalized for a decade but avoided a lobotomy Her writing had begun to be published and a doctor saw that maybe rather than being ill she was simply expressing a creative sensibility Her life story is moving But should one judge a book by the author's difficult life or the value of the book? I don't even judge a book by its value but rather by my own personal reaction to it I would give it five stars if I were to rate the book by the author's difficulties or as proof that what is defined as mentally ill is debatable How is the writing? Is it special? Yes absolutely Think free verse poetry I personally have difficulty with poetry but this is easy to read Much of the book is written employing a semi stream of consciousness narrative You perceive how the character thinks The author's decade in an institution and her own troubled thoughts two of her sisters drowned are used to good effect The dialogs are perfect You hear what people DO say Humor? Yes even given the dark tone of the book there is humor Even on her deathbed the author has retained her sense of humor When she was diagnosed with incurable leukemia she was told that they would do all they could to make the few weeks that remained comfortable She jokingly responded No one has ever cared about my quality of life before Here are some lines that made me smile Daphne who is the central character in the book is speaking of her father's hygiene routines and talks of the powder that he sprinkled on his feet to stop them from becoming athletic Or a depiction of a nurse with her greet the visitor smile Or the comment It must be in the family Some of these visitors are queerer than the patients There may be humor but there is a lack of kind people Maybe Daphne's motherbut she dies? Doctors Should one trust doctors? This book is upsetting if you as I do immediately get psyched out in a medical institution The author certainly shares my skepticism When you enter a hospital you better be healthy if you want to exit And then there is the ending the epilogue It is very clever and that left me loving the book A message is left Should I judge a book solely by the ending? Parts of the book do in fact drag Do you see how hard it is for me to decide on my rating? In summaryGood writing poetic in tone A touch of humorHealth issues again hard for meMental illness is portrayed with stunning insight People accurately drawn but with an emphasis on the evil rather than the good The narration by Heather Bolton is outstanding The dialect was genuine and not hard to follow She beautifully sings the songs and recites the poetry When Daphne sings and then her sister you actually hear the difference Daphne's father and mother and each sibling each has their own voice EXCELLENT narration which cannot be improved upon but I insist on rating a written book and the narration of the audiobook separatelyI don't think I ever really came to feel for Daphneso three rather than four stars Definitely a book worth readingOh yes at the end of the audiobook there are two additional pieces a Biographical Sketch by Pamela Gordon and a long very long Introduction to the Author by Lawrence Jones I enjoyed the first but was put off by the second I don't want to be told why I should like a book so I stopped listening I want to form my own opinion I will now having completed my review go back and listen This introduction placed at the end is than an hour long It has the character of a literary review It felt promotional

  2. says:

    You would think this night that the world sated with blossom and love and death would finish and there would be no memory of it anywhere save perhaps on a cave wall of new time where the posturing figures dance unseen their stillness of clay or chalk or stoneYou would think all this on a spring nightExcept the thinking is not realThe feeling I had a lot when reading Owls Do Cry was of looking out of the corner of your eye When looking at it full on whatever you expected to see was not there If there's an astigmatism version for rose coloured glasses then it would be this family the Withers Family and society mean fuck all for the look are the glasses I wasn't surprised when the brother Toby reads his little sister's diary during a visit only to be startled into feeling shame when he comes across the pages about himself I had been thinking about walking across your own grave before then I don't think it was because he saw in handwriting that he had his mother wait on her own bread bone dry and it's not butter it's margarine that he bullies her with further poverty with threats of pulling his shares out of the home that he owns with his parents made ME ashamed Toby had self awareness of the kind that sees what he expects to see when he slithers into another's eye frames The kind of weasel you would expect to learn has a dating website profile lamenting that hot girls don't like nice guys and honestly that's why he goes out of his way to make everyone's life hard in those little ways that add up to blind sided bad days Greasy haired never had a girl is he going to have one of his fits again He just knows they don't like him rather than expect better of himself I SHOULD help my mother he'd think His fits are epilepsy I think If he had been female he would have ended up under the hot lamp suspect gaze with no phone calls or a glass of water please Under the knife and under the stars if all of your ancestors are really judging you That was his sister Daphne's fate Toby counts his money like he was the little brother from The Mixed up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler great book Coins over the eyelids long before you're dead is one way of living as if you already are I had the feeling about this family that they were living the When you get old I'm going to put you in a home threat from day one It's a bitter unwhimpered threat It is only funny if it is The Golden Girls and you can burn the place down with a hot plate While Daphne is rotting away in the horror land version of Shady Pines is that the dying sun reflecting off the you could see your reflection in it is so dirty from a lifetime of sweat and twisted worry dome of Bob Withers over there you know where the chicken died crossing the road? I don't know who sprung for the home in this gasping punchline of an ending The joke isn't funny any this time I'll get it in early that Janet Frame has the comic touch of I don't know if I'm crying or I'm laughing The normal one please don't call her Chicks any her name is TERESA dead in a murder suicide Gotta keep up with the I married a doctor and he broke both his vows of marriage and the medical board couple She would have been the sort who would make sure you got her husbands title correct so I don't feel bad about my load of hyphens just there If she could write about it after she died she probably wouldn't have minded that they were trendy I wonder what Janet Frame would have made of the materialism of today if 1950s New Zealand cocked her brow? I can't see Toby springing for the fees for his father's home It was probably the lobotomized Daphne in her on the way up factory supervising job Or the institutional version of the unmarked pothole Eldest sister Francie died in a freak accident I am not sure how she burned to death She rolled out of the pages and into the fires She was kicking a leg in the mirror She was whispering secrets that Daphne would always be too young to know at least not without the so called benefits of may I have the scalpel please She was too old for trips to the local dumpster for treasures Chicks was running behind with sand in her shoes at the promise of aniseed cakes Dad wanted to burn Francie's scandalous pants that signified that she was a loose girl What will people say? After her death he burns those pants in secret This was a moment that stood out to me as if a girl who was brutally dumped by her boyfriend bonfires every I love you beary much memory in retaliation and promptly regrets it in case they get back together Was Francie really dead to them? I had the feeling that Toby was always reading Teresa's diary and running away in the night to avoid that exorcist head spin at their family Remember when we called her Chicks because she looked like a chicken with hair swinging in her face pointing at the ground as if she could pick up leftover grains of secrets that are only good when you're too young to know them? Teresa is the run away and be too good for your family sister I don't know if anyone reading this has that kind of family It was the much vocalized dream in mine Hearing this has a special way of making you feel as if you had never had a family If you wonder why YOU aren't also good enough to leave that is another way of losing it I think that's what Toby probably asked himself every time he thought about Teresa and her house up north I was interested in how Janet Frame saw that dream Young Daphne puts her sister on a wicked witch of the west path in the cyclone trail on her bicycle to and fro from a factory job Once upon a time I looked on a different New Zealand story the film Heavenly Creatures for my inner held up image for the horror romance Teen murderesses scream with delight when their beloved ugly Orson Welles chases them in their fantasies This movie made teenage me very happy because of that scene Movies don't make me that happy any Sure there are some stories that spark my mind to go Oh this means that Claire Danes playing a bipolar character on series Homeland is a recent favorite I'm not saying I can't get something out of good stories I don't know if I haven't had the knack of finding the good ones like I used to or maybe my standards are too high I feel like the present and stretched out future is for them like that To feel a shadow of that thrill it has to come from memories distorted or no of the past Daphne's spinning of this means that for a world she doesn't see the way a person who dreams of getting out as soon as they can felt like that reveling in the horror pleasure I guess how else could you cope if that was your option Backbreaking work until death Little did she know what awaited her was much worse I am horror fascinated by that her method of living with the world made it unlivable for her Doors shut on the outside as the windows in the mind open like seeing a picture of yourself looking into a mirror The Withers return to the mind boggling sudden death of Francie as a furnace of their own dreams if it worked as a time stands still trick for Daphne If they ever read someone else's account of their poverty or had to ride back to forth to the factory without kaleidoscopic colors of wool In the fairy tales you could sacrifice your first born child for this Well Daphne was locked up for the poetic license she takes with her own life They take it away from her I had a feeling of a longing to return to before Francie had died I couldn't call how Toby and Teresa see the world as poetic anything It would be like overhearing someone else say the kind of critical things you would say to yourself if you are the sort of person who feels awful about bad hair days If there was ever going to be a language that made sense of them as a whole it probably wouldn't be that kind There's a before and after Francie Funny she was going to leave them too as Teresa does Mom and dad never had any money They would write about them in their own diaries as figures who yell at them There would probably be a page about having to do chores A lot about wanting to live their own lives not as a family Teresa thinks about where Daphne is shut and means to send her a tin of biscuits That wasn't that different than Toby's longed for pleasure of finding out what the next flavor was going to be in a type of candy much like Life savers It probably wasn't as sweet as when they were kids and got those aniseed cakes which sounded much like something my birds like to eat If only Toby hadn't fled in the night when he read a diary never intended for him to read Teresa's suburban life wasn't seen with the same warm kitchen lights as the one in Frame's Towards Another Summer I had liked that book better for that that it wasn't a win or lose life thing to have it all of a family versus being alone and not settled in if you were happy with that or not I don't mind here that it's a loss because I don't think it was really about who saved themselves or not The loss is in the meaning of it all Why even have family? The feeling I have had all three times reading Janet Frame is that the only way to save yourself is to try and have as many kinds of looks that you can get The stolen diary feeling isn't a pleasant feeling to have I felt like Toby when he is dismissed I had felt sorry for him when the girl he hardly admits to being in love with him is married to another man She laughs at him for believing a childhood story about factory girls and a strap I felt something else for him when another pleasure he gets out of his life is withholding the sports page from the newspaper from his father These kids wouldn't ever get over that childhood slight would they? I wonder what the point of moving away from the family you were born into and starting another one is if that is how it is always going to go It's the home for you Here have a biscuit tin Janet Frame was wonderful with the familial poetical strains carrying over through the kids Daphne listened willingly Toby has nightmares that his sisters are Shakespearean witches Teresa silences herself in her diary Toby at least pieces together how his mother pulled her view of the world from newspaper headlines read aloud to her from her husband When Daphne writes something similar I wonder where she heard it from her sister only wonders that the nurses allowed her to send such a letter in the first place What happened to this family? Their mother sang a song to her children that went like this Come in you naughty birdthe rain is pouring downwhat would your mother sayif you stay there and drown?You are a very naughty birdyou do not think of meI'm sure I do not caresaid the sparrow on the treeFrame wrote that she half wailing it so that it seemed tragic and terrible Damn Guilt trip for her kids sure But for a family that epitomizes You don't call you don't write I thought that was great I read a review online that the character marginalized to the detriment of the story was the mother I don't agree I think she takes her place in that family and then doesn't take it same as everyone elsePeople could say that Janet Frame wrote similar books because of the autobiographical content Like Daphne she was locked away in an institution and scheduled for a lobotomy herself Her family was poor I read a goodreads review from a friend on here about another author not too long ago that she wrote the same book every time and I didn't agree with that either Jean Rhys books read to me like interlocking pieces of the same puzzle Janet Frame is something else If you have ever struggled with a crushing weight on your own shoulders that was sometimes shifted to your heart or maybe your brain and you could trick yourself into thinking it was gone with stories you tell yourself? You would catch your own reflection and what you expected to see there wasn't what you saw any Her books read like that to me I've only read three so far Maybe I'm talking out of my ass Society is fucked up Maybe it isn't that bad because there is a light coming out of these bridges that I can cross with some help Is the ending of Owls Do Cry the subverted image of what you expect to see what with the mentalist Daphne making the dough? Those who got out dug themselves in the pot holes society loves parking lots I feel it's sad and angry Faces in the Water was kinder towards the lashers than I had inside of me because I was too angry that society doesn't ask of itself to be better than that So the mom was going to die anyway That was going to be her end no matter what But why did she have children to live like that? Tell yourself I don't care why is my son so cruel that's how it goes So their neighbors read about this stuff happening to all of these people Anyone we know? I guess they didn't expect to see these people in the paper They all had their places Toby's sorta love who married that social security clerk who had been embezzling all the time I missed the old Daphne who saw their ominous faces peeking out of the sides of Mt Rush Oh wait that's me I'm trying to reconcile historical expectations with it never happened so let's just give up Oh wait that's what they did I'm stuck on Daphne getting locked up because her mind played tricks on her that it wasn't all the town dump and dad yelling at mom about money Owls Do Cry is the it is freaking hard book Poetry isn't going to save you this timeDamn but I do feel bad about that save yourself drive I would think Frame would see it from both sides of the lonely socket Somehow that isn't as consoling to me this time I've seen where Daphne goes And the mill girls going on bicycles chased by the south wind to their rooms of blindness but not here Daphne here at the hour of the hooter the door outside the mountain hovel is unlocked some other door of a brick house holding the idiots and maimed and the dwarves with their crepe faces and parchment eyes and these people move into the yard they jabber jibber and are quiet they know what you say to them they know they are understanding so they must work and off they skip and limp and crawl with bundles of soiled clothes under their arm to the laundry all day with the hiss of steam like snakes in their ears ironing folding hanging out the clothes feeding and being crushed their heads and the bones in their heads under the mangle that is time taking the sheets of earth they lie between and the pillow cases of dream they rest their hearts on

  3. says:

    Janet Frame is another one of those authors whose books I ration I discovered Frame's work after I fell for Jane Campion's work The Piano led to An Angel at My Table which was based on Frame's autobiography of the same name and some of her other work Frame died a few years ago after a life of tragedy astounding accomplishments and gorgeous writing Some writers wish they would write like Dickinson or Faulkner or Shakespeare I wish I could write like Frame Owls Do Cry was Frame's first semi autobiographical novel It follows a New Zealand family through the death of a daughter the mental illness and subsequent institutionalization of another and the general tragedies of deeply injured children But the plot isn't what normally matters in Frame's books her language is intense and beautiful and poetic And right always right I'm sure I'll read it again

  4. says:

    The children of a poor family in New Zealand the Withers spend their days searching through rubbish heaps for childish treasures fearing and suspicious of much their hard working simple father the nurse at school the day when they must go face the factories and mills of the adult world After the eldest girl dies horrifically the book jumps twenty years ahead we now see that the youngest is married and trying poorly to get on in higher society Daphne is mute and in a grim mental institution staffed by pushy attendants and smiling clueless doctors getting ECT and Toby is a slightly mentally off “a shingle short” as the book has it in Australian slang epileptic who works as some sort of scrap dealer He lives at home is unnoticed by women and cannot empathize with his long sacrificing parentsI read this book as part of a project in which strangers dictated online what books I should read This is a good example of the kind of book that I would probably not left to my own devices decide to read The literary world is strewn with examples of the child child like or free association narrator Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha Room Riddley Walker Thy Servant a Dog and while I've enjoyed some of these I often find the style laborious than it is worth the literary payoff Frame occasionally expresses Daphne’s disjointed observations through blank verse a bit too abstruse for my tastes — perhaps a bit too close to an actual schizophrenic look at the world It’s a fully autobiographical novel Frame was one of five children two of whom died one of whom was epileptic and she spent time in a mental institution even being scheduled for a lobotomy at one point Given its utterly thoroughly bleak tone this makes for uncomfortable reading — and criticizing what can one say really about the madness of this grim life? Frame is a good prose stylist with some clever imagery at her disposal and is capable of writing very much from the point of view of a child She also has that power of the novelist to put herself in the lives of minor characters but again it’s unrelentingly grim as we see the nurse push away her loneliness and poor self image to blossom only through the petty power she has in the asylum And I’m exceedingly glad Frame's literary talents saved her from the madhouse But I’m not sure I’m better for having read this novel of poverty isolation murderers lack of understanding and the crushing indifference of everyone

  5. says:

    This is the first Janet Frame book I have ever read so her writing took some getting used to at first she has her own style which is kind of semi stream of consciousness She uses punctuation in a very interesting way and some sentences call for a re read Once you get the hang of it you realise how rich deep and beautifully poetic her writing is The book is based in 1950s New Zealand and follows the story of one family from Dunedin in the South Island and goes in depth into the characters of three siblings in particular You get a real feel for the culture of the society of those times and this is particularly interesting for me being based in NZ at the moment as it gives me an insight and a reference point though I recognise it as an intimate and subjective one of a particular period in New Zealand's history The story is both witty and sad in equal partsI am left feeling quite well acquainted with the characters in this book and that to me is a real success This was her first novel and if it's anything to go by I am sure Frame will become one of my favourite authors