‘My Last Story’ by Janet Frame

My Last Story by Janet Frame, 1951

The magic trick:

Building a story of things you say you don’t want to write about

So this one is a bit gimmicky.

The narrator claims it is her last story. So, wait, it’s not the narrator. It’s the author.

The author claims it is her last story.

She then works through all the different topics she isn’t going to write about.

Clever, of course, because in doing they become the exact topics she is writing about.

But, listen, even if that sounds terrible to you… even if that sounds like the most annoying story construction you’ve ever heard of… it works.

Tucked in the middle of gimmick is a beautiful and touching portrait of the narrator’s (author’s?) sisters.

And that’s quite a trick on Frame’s part.

The selection:

And my sister who’s in the sixth form at school and talks about a Brave New World and Aldous Huxley and DH Lawrence, and asks me is it love it must be love because when we were standing on the bridge he said. He said, she said, I’m not going to write any more stories about that. I’m not going to write any more about the rest of my family, my other sister who teaches and doesn’t like teaching though why on earth if you don’t like it they say.


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