[en] Janet Frame ; Children's literature ; Animals
[fr] Creativity ; Metafiction
[en] This essay offers a close reading of Mona Minim and the Smell of the Sun, a tale for children often thought to be unique in the corpus of Janet Frame in that its implied reading public compelled the author to keep her distance from her usual preoccupation with the great negative themes of twentieth-century consciousness. Yet Frame’s declaration in an interview that this was her favourite among her own published books should alert us to the possibility that thematic continuities subterraneously connect it to the rest of the work. In particular, the exploration of animal life encouraged by the genre can be seen to be paradigmatic of her interest in alternative ontologies and to encode the concern with creativity which is a touchstone of her entire output. Typically, too, the figure of the artist – in this case, of the story-teller – is invested with a redemptive value for the beleaguered individual, and cannot be separated from a metafictional mode of representation which is possibly unexpected in what purports to be a simple fairy tale.