An extraordinary book of collected short non-fiction, spanning fifty years of work, by one of Australia’s great writers.
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.
`Garner is scrupulous, painstaking, and detailed, with sharp eyes and ears. She is everywhere at once, watching and listening, a recording angel at life's secular apocalypses...her unillusioned eye makes her clarity compulsive.' * James Wood, New Yorker *
`Garner can write about everything for every reader...Her tone throughout is one of considerable charm and approachability. Five minutes in Garner's company, you feel, and you'd be telling her your deepest secrets.' * Neil Stewart, Civilian Global *
`[Garner's] writing expresses a hard-won grace. It brings you closer to the world, and shows you how to love it.' * Monthly *
`Memoirist, fiction writer, faction writer, journalist? Australian critics and booksellers have stopped trying to pigeonhole Melburnian writer Helen Garner and now just give her prizes...These stories and essays are the work of a natural storyteller, of an unsparing yet sympathetic eye...It's all wonderful stuff: unstinting honesty, clarity and charm. Dive in.' * North & South *
`This is the power of Garner's 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.' * Australian *
`True Stories by Helen Garner-I mean, really. Helen. Helen Garner. Do you hear that sound? It is the sound of glitter cannons exploding in my heart.' * Marieke Hardy, Melbourne Writers Festival Staff Summer Reading List *
`Stories 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.' * Joan London, Sydney Morning Herald's Year in Reading *
`Published in beautiful editions to celebrate life given shape in words.' * Drusilla Modjeska, Sydney Morning Herald's Year in Reading *
`Both 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.' * Age *
`Helen Garner is one of Australia's 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.'
* Sydney Morning Herald, Can't-Put-Down Titles for Summer *
`Helen Garner's collections of fiction and nonfiction corroborate her reputation as a great stylist and a great witness.' -- Peter Craven * Books of the Year 2017 *
`Smoking dope and eating spaghetti, the abrupt ending of a happy marriage, the psychological effect of wearing stripes. Helen Garner takes slivers of daily life, sometimes the most mundane, and gently folds them into poetry on the page.' -- Australian Gourmet Traveller
`As I leaf through the volumes, having just re-read both of them, I am still brought up short by another revelatory insight of the everyday...I could go on and on, but I am out of words. Many happy returns Helen Garner!'
* Adelaide Advertiser *
`This 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.' * Overland *