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Everywhere I Look

Everywhere I Look

Helen Garner

  • awardWinner, Australian Book Industry Award, General Nonfiction, 2017
  • awardShortlisted, New South Wales Premier's Literary Award, Douglas Steward Prize for Non-Fiction, 2017
  • 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.


    Guardian—watching Russell Crowe films
    Lithub—reading Pride and Prejudice


    ABC 7.30 with Leigh Sales
    Lithub with John Freeman

    Helen Garner
    About the Author

    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. In 2019 she was honoured with the Australia Council Award for Lifetime...

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    Text publication date:
    3 April 2017
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    Praise for Helen Garner
    andEverywhere I Look

    ‘Garner is a natural storyteller: her unillusioned eye makes her clarity compulsive…What gives the memoir its power, as so often in Garner’s writing, is that she is unsparing, in equal measure, of her subject and of herself, and that she so relishes complicated feelings…[Everywhere I Look] is made singular by Garner’s almost reckless honesty, and brought alive by her mortal details.’

    ‘It 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.’

    ‘Imagine a writer who writes with the humour and precision of Joy Williams, the warmth and ferocity of Elena Ferrante, and the investigative rigor of Janet Malcolm…Read this book and you will wonder how you lived for years without Garner’s voice in your ear.’

    ‘Garner’s prose is so very pleasant to read – dry, relaxed sentences that calmly reach out towards loveliness…[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.’

    ‘Wonderfully evocative…This is an entertaining, thought-provoking and interesting read.’

    ‘Garner’s style celebrates and enacts containment and minimalism…Its tenderness and brutality cultivate fruitful and interesting kitchen table conversations spanning the grace and indignity of being “all too human.”’

    ‘[Garner’s] writing expresses a hard-won grace. It brings you closer to the world, and shows you how to love it…She has laid the groundwork for a generation of writers; she has repeatedly shown us the glory and the power of an English sentence.’

    ‘[Garner’s] tone is calm, the language clear and considered…Garner stamps her sensibility on all she writes. For which her fans will be grateful.’

    ‘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.’

    ‘[Garner] has a way of describing the world with such wisdom and candour and, sometimes, delight, that it takes one’s breath away…at least, it does mine. Her observations about life are refreshing in their honesty…This is a fine collection that offers many delights to the reader.’

    ‘Similar to a hike, the book is best enjoyed without straining to finish it. It’s 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 Garner’s observations for a time.’

    ‘There is much to engage the reader at several levels…Garner is at her very best when she writes about children with a grandmother’s intense affection, or about friendships.’

    Everywhere I Look has magnificent savage moments that still make me smile.’

    ‘[Garner’s] forensic understanding of the sentence make her paragraphs an illusorily clean and easy read…She teaches me how to write again.’

    ‘It’s an enormous, miscellaneous range of subject matter, made all the more compelling by the luxuriant strength of Garner’s prose - each phrase considered and crafted in the manner of an artisan. Everywhere I Look is a delicious literary degustation in which each morsel is its own reward.’

    ‘A perfect book for a brief escape. Short stories full of emotion and life. Stories that lift you up and draw you in…Wonderfully written.’

    ‘I will read every word [Garner] ever writes.’

    ‘… the collection in Everywhere I Look offers both an intimate insight into its author and a piercing view of the world we all share. Sometimes uplifting and illuminating, sometimes reflective and poignant, sometimes cranky and bleak, it is an absorbing, enriching read that will likely be dipped into again and again.’

    ‘Fantastically accessible…Garner writes warmly and generously. She often brings into her stories characters from her life with no introduction, as if you must surely know them yourself.’

    ‘Not a word is wasted, nothing is too small to write about, nothing is too big to intimidate…Magnificent.’

    ‘Classic Garner: lean and dry, a tough gaze with a tender edge.’

    ‘[A] collection of writing from one of our greatest…Some pieces are surprisingly humorous, some are sentimental, and some are quite chilling.’

    ‘Helen Garner is still at the top of her game and full of surprises.’

    ‘This is Garner in an expansive mood writing gracefully about everything from her family to ballet to the dawn service.’

    ‘There is nothing casual or accidental about Everywhere I Look…Its curated sense of a series of engagements with place, people, and objects, presents a way of writing autobiography which seems unintentional, yet coherent all the same…Helen Garner in this latest work adds to our thinking about writing, how it is done, and for what purpose.’

    ‘I’ve always enjoyed the honesty of [Garner’s] writing, her ability to tackle controversial issues with an inquiring and open mind, and the way she addresses her readers directly. Those characteristics are all present here.’

    ‘Garner’s writing is both disarming and reassuring when we see in another those same fears and feelings experienced in the recesses of our subconscious…Rather than judge, Garner embraces and casts light on the messiness, the underbelly of living.’

    ‘A collection brimming with highlights…Always unflinching, always honest – and always elusive…Brilliantly written and observed, there’s no doubting this is the work of one of our finest writers.’

    ‘Garner’s lean, deceptively simple prose has the power to anger, amuse and inspire. Wisdom and grace permeate every page.’

    ‘These and other richly human subjects connect the author emotionally to her readers…Like strolling around in an idiosyncratic, surprising, and informative museum.’

    ‘Garner brings to the collection not only her tremendous powers of observation but a continued employment of those skills to force readers to confront unpleasant truths. The graceful prose with which she delivers her insights will challenge readers to look at what is happening around them.’

    ‘A book with a big scope, both in terms of the subjects covered and of the stylistic approaches used to discuss them—a great reminder of the range of the essay as form.’

    ‘It made me cry and laugh and think. Garner always reminds me of the power of noticing and the impact of sparse writing.’

    ‘This collection of essays by one of Australia’s best known authors has the sharp steel edge characteristic of all of Garner’s work. Observations are cobbled together in an almost conversational way, stopping and starting, dealing in trivialities and family moments. Woven amongst the everyday, there are recollections of grief; a father’s death, a friend’s funeral, the heartbreak of being in love with a married man. Garner’s gimlet eye is as revealing and clear as ever.’

    ‘Garner shows us something precious and endangered…the nexus of neighbourhoods and neighbourliness, the simple weatherboard houses and the plain local shops in the suburbs of Fitzroy and Moonee Ponds. In the most ordinary suburb, as in the most extraordinary marine wilderness, what lies beneath is as fascinating as life on the surface.’

    Everywhere I Look is a book full of unexpected moments, sudden shafts of light, piercing intuition, flashes of anger and incidental humour.’

    Other editions ofEverywhere I Look
    • Everywhere I Look
      ISBN: 9781922253644
      29 March 2016
      Buy ebook