Helen Garner has kept a diary for almost all her life. But until now, those exercise books filled with her thoughts, observations, frustrations and joys have been locked away, out of bounds, in a laundry cupboard.
Finally, Garner has opened her diaries and invited readers into the world behind her novels and works of non-fiction. Recorded with frankness, humour and steel-sharp wit, these accounts of her everyday life provide an intimate insight into the work of one of Australiaâs greatest living writers.
Yellow Notebook, Diaries Volume One, in this elegant hardback edition, spans about a decade beginning in the late 1970s just after the publication of her first novel, Monkey Grip. It will delight Garner fans and those new to her work alike.
âGarner is scrupulous, painstaking, and detailed, with sharp eyes and ears. She is everywhere at once, watching and listening, a recording angel at lifeâs secular apocalypsesâ¦her unillusioned eye makes her clarity compulsive.â James Wood, New Yorker
âOn the page, Garner is uncommonly fierce, though this usually has the effect on me of making her seem all the more likable. I relish her fractious, contrarian streak â she wears it as a chef would a bloody apron â even as I worry about what it would be like to have to face it down.â Guardian
â[Garnerâs] writing expresses a hard-won grace. It brings you closer to the world, and shows you how to love it.â Monthly
âGarner is scrupulous, painstaking, and detailed, with sharp eyes and ears. She is everywhere at once, watching andÂ listening, a recording angel at lifeâs secular apocalypses...her unillusioned eye makes her clarity compulsive.âÂ James Wood, New Yorker
Helen Garner visits the morgue, and goes cruising on a Russian ship. She sees women giving birth, and gets the sack for teaching her students about sex. She attends a school dance and a gun show. She writes about dreaming, about turning fifty, and the storm caused by The First Stone. Her story on the murder of the two-year-old Daniel Valerio wins her a Walkley Award.
Garner looks at the world with a shrewd and sympathetic eye. Her non-fiction is always passionate and compelling. True Stories is an extraordinary book, spanning fifty years of work, by one of Australiaâs great writers.
Helen Garner writes novels, stories, screenplays and works of non-fiction. In 2006 she received the inaugural Melbourne Prize for Literature, and in 2016 she won the prestigious Windham Campbell Prize for non-fiction and the Western Australian Premier's Book Award. Her most recent book, Everywhere I Look won the 2017 Indie Book Award for Non-Fiction.
âHer prose is wiry, stark, precise, but to find her equal for the tone of generous humanity one has to call up writers like Isaac Babel and Anton Chekhov.â Wall Street Journal
â[Garnerâs] writing expresses a hard-won grace. It brings you closer to the world, and shows you how to love it.âÂ Monthly
âHelen Garner is one of Australiaâs greatest living writers and her collection of essays, diary entries and stories written over almost 50 years is just the thing for the lover of fine writing. A compilation of three non-fiction collections, True Stories: The Collected Short Non-Fiction covers everything from family, love and marriage, sex and motherhood to travel, writing and criminal trials. Her piercing intellect, fearlessness and compassion shine through in every word.â Sydney Morning Herald, Canât-Put-Down Titles for Summer
âTrue Stories by Helen GarnerâI mean, really. Helen. Helen Garner. Do you hear that sound? It is the sound of glitter cannons exploding in my heart.â Marieke Hardy, Melbourne Writers Festival Staff Summer Reading List
âMemoirist, fiction writer, faction writer, journalist? Australian critics and booksellers have stopped trying to pigeonhole Melburnian writer Helen Garner and now just give her prizesâ¦These stories and essays are the work of a natural storyteller, of an unsparing yet sympathetic eyeâ¦Itâs all wonderful stuff: unstinting honesty, clarity and charm. Dive in.â North & South
âThis is the power of Garnerâs writing. She drills into experience and comes up with such clean, precise distillations of life, once you read them they enter into you. Successive generations of writers have felt the keen influence of her work and for this reason Garner has become part of us all.â Australian
âAs I leaf through the volumes, having just re-read both of them, I am still brought up short by another revelatory insight of the everydayâ¦I could go on and on, but I am out of words. Many happy returns Helen Garner!â Adelaide Advertiser
âThis collection of columns, essays and feature writing from the early 1970s to the present is a real treat, offering immersive journalism, humour, whimsy and analysis.â Overland
âGarnerâs non-fiction is often driven by the question why. Ruthless and full-blooded, her journalism nevertheless displays the greatest nimbleness in its accommodation of ambivalence and uncertainty. Her short stories, on the other hand, have a tendency to rise sea
âGarner is a natural storyteller.â James Wood, New Yorker
This handsome edition of Helen Garnerâs collected short fiction celebrates the seventy-fifth birthday of one of Australiaâs most loved authors.These storiesâthat delve into the complexities of love and longing, of the pain, darkness and joy of lifeâare all told with her characteristic sharpness of observation, honesty and humour. Each one a perfect piece, together they showcase Garnerâs mastery of the form.
Helen Garner writes novels, stories, screenplays and works of non-fiction. In 2006 she received the inaugural Melbourne Prize for Literature, and in 2016 she won the prestigious WindhamâCampbell Literature Prize for non-fiction. Garner won the NSW Premierâs Literary Award for Fiction for Postcards from Surfers, and the Victorian and Queensland Premiersâ Awards, as well as the Barbara Jefferis Award, for her novel The Spare Room. Everywhere I Look won the 2017 Indie Book Award for Non Fiction.
âGarnerâs stories share characteristics of the postcard: they flash before us carefully recorded images that remind us of harsher realities not pictured. And like postcards they are economically written, a bit of conversation is transcribed, a memory recalled, an event noted, scenes pass as if viewed from a trainâmomentarily, distinct and tantalising in their beauty.âÂ New York Times
âA perfect introduction for first-timers who have not yet experienced the pleasures of Garnerâs writing.â Sydney Morning Herald
âStories and True Stories are handsome companion volumes deservedly celebrating Helen Garner, our greatest contemporary practitioner of observation, self-interrogation and compassion. Everything she writes, in her candid, graceful prose, rings true, enlightens, stays.â Joan London, Sydney Morning Heraldâs Year in Reading
âPublished in beautiful editions to celebrate life given shape in words.â Drusilla Modjeska, Sydney Morning Heraldâs Year in Reading
âBoth of these books are concerned with moments of heartbreak and of hope, with loneliness and love, and with great cruelties, and the things that drive people to them. They are animated by a desire to understand what seems unfathomable, and to pay attention to the small pleasures of the everyday. Garner's precise descriptions, her interest in minute shifts of emotion, and the ways in which we reveal ourselves to others are always at work in these books, and make them a real joy to read.â Age
Inner-suburban Melbourne in the 1970s: a world of communal living, drugs, music and love. In this acclaimed first novel, Helen Garner captures the fluid relationships of a community of friends who are living and loving in new ways.
Nora falls in love with Javo the junkie, and together they try to make sense of their lives and the choices they have made. But caught in an increasingly ambiguous relationship, they are unable to let go - and the harder they pull away from each other, the tighter the monkey grip.
'A lyrical, rough-edged novel full of warmth and uncompromising feeling' The Sunday Age
In her first novel in fifteen years, Helen Garner writes about the joys and limits of female friendship under the transforming pressure of illness. "The clear-eyed grace of her prose" in this darkly funny and unsparing novel has been hailed by Peter Carey as "the work of a great writer." Garlanded with awards, dazzling reviewers around the globe, "The Spare Room" is destined to be a modern literary classic.
Helen Garner is one of Australiaâs greatest writers. Her short non-fiction has enormous range. Spanning fifteen years of work, Everywhere I Look is a book full of unexpected moments, sudden shafts of light, piercing intuition, flashes of anger and incidental humour. It takes us from backstage at the ballet to the trial of a woman for the murder of her newborn baby. It moves effortlessly from the significance of moving house to the pleasure of re-reading Pride and Prejudice.
Everywhere I Look includes Garnerâs famous and controversial essay on the insults of age, her deeply moving tribute to her mother and extracts from her diaries, which have been part of her working life for as long as she has been a writer. Everywhere I Look glows with insight. It is filled with the wisdom of life.
Helen Garner is an award-winning author of novels, stories, screenplays and works of non-fiction. In 2006 she received the inaugural Melbourne Prize for Literature. Her novel The Spare Room, published in 2008, won the Victorian Premierâs Literary Award for Fiction, the Queensland Premierâs Award for Fiction and the Barbara Jefferis Award, and has been translated into many languages.
âGarner is a charming and courageous writer whose distinctive voice exemplifies the range of what is posÂsible in personal writing.â Publishers Weekly
âThereâs not a word wasted or out of place. Garner observes, intuits, shares and cares about the lives she writes about like no-one else. Readers will laugh, cry, squirm and gasp and wonder. Itâs Garnerâs unique gift as a writer, and itâs beautifully realised in Everywhere I Look.â Books&Publishing
â[Garner] has a way of describing the world with such wisdom and candour and, sometimes, delight, that it takes oneâs breath awayâ¦at least, it does mine. Her observations about life are refreshing in their honestyâ¦This is a fine collection that offers many delights to the reader.â Readings
âSimilar to a hike, the book is best enjoyed without straining to finish it. Itâs full of moments to pause and reflect. More importantly, it stirs up that addictive, expansive feeling only the best books can achieve: that you have reached the final page changed, perhaps even a better and more thoughtful person from having travelled alongside Garnerâs observations for a time.â Daily Review
âGarnerâs prose is so very pleasant to readâdry, relaxed sentences that calmly reach out towards lovelinessâ¦[Her] willingness to look at and truly see the failures of human behaviour, in herself no less than in others, that lends her work its power.â Guardian
âIt is a rich, beautiful book by a poet of the everyday, a sheer master of prose. Give it to your grandmother, give it to your tweeting girlfriend. Give it to any man or woman who understands the magic of language. It will hurl them into great gulfs of pleasure, of turmoil and understanding and joy.â Australian
âGarnerâs style celebrates and enacts containment and minimalismâ¦Its tenderness and brutality cultivate fruitful and interesting kitchen table conversations spanning the grace and indignity of being âall too human.ââ Age/Sydney Morning Herald
â[Garnerâs] writing expresses a hard-won grace. It brings you closer to the world, and shows you how to love itâ¦She has laid the groundwork for a generation of writers; she has repeatedly shown us the glory and the power of an English sentence.â Monthly
âGarner approaches core questions about leading a meaningful life, providing baby boomers in particular with examples of how to live thoughtfully and observantly.â Library JournalÂ
Â âA mesmerising collection of essays and diary entries, this is a book to savour and re-read. No one else writes with as much insight, cla
Winner, Ned Kelly Awards, Best True Crime, 2015A Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year, 2014
On the evening of 4 September 2005, Fatherâs Day, Robert Farquharson, a separated husband, was driving his three sons home to their mother, Cindy, when his car left the road and plunged into a dam. The boys, aged ten, seven and two, drowned. Was this an act of revenge or a tragic accident? The court case became Helen Garnerâs obsession. She followed it on its protracted course until the final verdict.
In this utterly compelling book, Helen Garner tells the story of a man and his broken life. She presents the theatre of the courtroom with its actors and audience, all gathered for the purpose of bearing witness to the truth, players in the extraordinary and unpredictable drama of the quest for justice.
This House of Grief is a heartbreaking and unputdownable book by one of Australiaâs most admired writers.
Helen Garnerâs first novel, Monkey Grip won the 1978 National Book Council Award, and was adapted for film in 1981. Since then she has published novels, short stories, essays, and feature journalism. In 1995 she published The First Stone, a controversial account of a Melbourne University sexual harassment case. Joe Cinque's Consolation (2004) was a non-fiction study of two murder trials in Canberra. In 2006 Helen Garner received the inaugural Melbourne Prize for Literature. Her most recent novel, The Spare Room (2008), won the Victorian Premierâs Literary Award for Fiction, the Queensland Premierâs Award for Fiction and the Barbara Jefferis Award, and has been translated into many languages. Helen Garner lives in Melbourne.
âThis House of Grief (Text) is a gripping account of a murder trial in which few of the participants act and react in ways we might predict. Itâs an examination not just of what happened, but also of what we prefer to believe and what we cannot face believing.â Julian Barnes, Books of the Year, TLS
âThis House of Grief makes its complexity out of an honest vulnerabilityâ¦Garnerâs book is superbly alive to the narrative dynamics of the case; she tells a grim story of unhappy marriage, limited social opportunity, bitter divorce, and spousal grievance. Again, as in The First Stone, what consumes her are the difficult questions that seem to lie beyond the reach of formal narration: the deepest assumptions of class and gender and power; the problem of how well we ever understand someone elseâs motivesâ¦Attracted and repelled, Garner circles around the unspeakable abysmal horror. Can any story âexplainâ why a man might murder his children? She doesnât pretend to possess the explosive answer, and frequently confesses stupefaction, but her book walks us along an engrossing and plausible narrative fuseâ¦Her narrative is lit by lightning.â James Wood, New Yorker
âHelen Garnerâs account of the trial is a non-literary variation of Truman Capoteâs In Cold Blood (1966).â Eileen Battersby, Books of the Year, Irish Times
âAs involving, heart-rending and unsettling a read as you could possibly find, a true-life account of three deaths and a trial that leaves you with a profound sense of unease as its drama unfolds, and disturbing questions about how we judge guilt and innocence.âÂ The Times
âThis House of Grief is a magnificent book about the majesty of the law and the terrible matter of the human heart...If you read nothing else this year, read this story of the sorrow and pity ofinnocents drowned and the spectres and enigmas of guilt.â Peter Craven, Weekend Australian
âIt grabbed me by the throat in the same way that the podcast series âSerialâ did. Ms. Garner brilliantly and compassionately recounts the harrowing, real-life trial of Robert Farquharson.â Gillian Anderson, Wall Street Journal, Books of the Year 2015
Athena and Dexter lead an enclosed family life, innocent of fashion and bound towards a disturbed child. Their comfortable rut is disrupted by the arrival of Elizabeth, a tough nut from Dexter's past. With her three charming, chaotic hangers-on, she draws the couple out into a world whose casual egotism they had barely dreamed of. How can they get home again?
A short shot of brilliant storytelling – one of the most celebrated modern Australian short stories is now available to read by itself, wherever you are. A young woman from Melbourne visits her parents, and Auntie Lorna, in Surfers Paradise. As she stays with them, and writes postcard after postcard home, she thinks back on relationships that have shaped her. Helen Garner's collection Postcards from Surfers heralded a new generation of Australian writing, and her beautifully detailed, honest and evocative prose is on perfect display in this the title story.
best-selling and most admired writers.
Helen lovingly prepares her spare room for her friend Nicola. She is coming to visit for three weeks, to receive treatment she believes will cure her cancer. From the moment Nicola staggers off the plane, gaunt and hoarse but still somehow grand, Helen becomes her nurse, her guardian angel and her stony judge.
The Spare Room tells a story of compassion, humour and rage. The two women-one sceptical, one stubbornly serene-negotiate an unmapped path through Nicola's gruelling therapy, stumbling towards the novel's terrible and transcendent finale.
'A perfect novel, imbued with all Garner's usual clear-eyed grace but with some other magnificent dimension that hides between the lines of her simple conversational voice. How is it that she can enter this heart-breaking territory-the dying friend who comes to stay-and make it not only bearable, but glorious, and funny?' Peter Carey
âGarnerâs gradual awakening to her unadmitted anger is what gives her best book, her novel The Spare Room, much of its shattering powerâ¦The novel closes: âIt was the end of my watch, and I handed her over.â Helen has done as much as she can do. It is a typical Garner sentence, a writing lesson (all novels should end as completely) and a life lesson: spare, deserved, and complexly truthful, both a confession of failure and a small song of success.â James Wood, New YorkerÂ
From one of Australia's most celebrated writers comes eleven stories about the complexities of life and love; of looking back and longing; of what it means to be a stranger, on foreign ground and known, told with the piercing familiarity and resonance we have come to expect from Helen Garner. Remarkably honest, often very funny and always woven in ways that surprise, these stories tease out everyday life to show the darkness underneath – but also the possibilities of joy.
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