This fairytale’s not for children

The Mijo Tree,

by Janet Frame (Penguin, RRP $25):

This is an odd little tale. Published posthumously, the manuscript gathered dust in the Hocken Library archive for many years.

Illustrated to great – and somewhat dark effect – The Mijo Tree tells the deceptively simple tale of a small seed who wishes to see more than her small corner of the Earth.

An ill wind sweeps her out of her little valley, and they fall in love. When the wind dies, the mijo tree is left to struggle on alone.

It’s a fairytale of a sort, filtered through the unique lens of Janet Frame’s experiences and psyche, but it’s no fable for children. As short as it is, it’s unsparing in its themes of love, loss and loneliness.

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