I pedal over to Kensington just after dark. As I roll along the lane towards the railway underpass, a young Asian woman on her way home from the station walks out of the tunnel towards me. After she passes there's a stillness, a moment of silent freshness that feels like spring.
Helen Garner is one of Australia's 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 Garner's 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.
Caroline Baum's Review
How does she do it? Helen Garner's eye is sharper than ever in this collection of essays. Her prose is bracing and invigorating, like a dip in cool clear water. Even the most mundane object or experience is transformed into something rich. She could write about a table leg and make it interesting. Actually, in this collection, she does write about a table, if not exactly the leg, and it is interesting. And she has lots of company: we see her out in the world, surrounded by friends, grandchildren, fellow writers, and get a strong sense of the kinship and fellowship of social Helen, having perhaps in the past known her more as solitary Helen when she was licking her wounds. There is pleasure here, tempered by regret and darkness, all of it expressed in language brimming with vitality, shaped with economy and precision. Wonderful.
About the Author
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 Premier's Literary Award for Fiction, the Queensland Premier's Award for Fiction and the Barbara Jefferis Award, and has been translated into many languages. Her most recent book is This House of Grief.
'Helen Garner is an invaluable guide into harrowing territory and offers powerful and unforgettable insights.' -- Kate Atkinson on This House of Grief
'Garner's spare, clean style flowers into magnificent poetry.' -- Australian Book Review on This House of Grief
'Her voice-intimate yet sharp, wry yet urgent-inspires trust.' -- Atlantic on This House of Grief
'There's 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. It's Garner's unique gift as a writer, and it's beautifully realised in Everywhere I Look.' -- Books + Publishing