This is deservedly one of the classic New Zealand novels. When I returned it to the library, the librarian eagerly asked me how it was. I said it was really good — a novel version of Frame’s short stories. The shifting viewpoints give a broad understanding of the characters and events, and the impressionistic first-person narrative really made me feel what it must be like for the main character, living a life very different to mine. Bad things happen to her, but there are also many marvellous moments of beauty:
Puss puss. Puss puss. But Fyodor and Matilda are far too sleepy to uncurl from their breathing black and grey cloud. Everything drowses, why not we, say Fyodor and Matilda. The sun covers his face with soft white and grey paw and the few kittens of cloud uncurl yawn and curl up again. Puss puss indeed.