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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 stories on the murder of the two-year-old Daniel Valerio and Akon Guode, the mother who drove her children into a lake, won her two Walkley Awards.
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 forty years of work, by one of Australia’s great writers.
‘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.’
‘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.’
‘[Garner’s] writing expresses a hard-won grace. It brings you closer to the world, and shows you how to love it.’
‘Helen Garner’s collections of fiction and nonfiction corroborate her reputation as a great stylist and a great witness.’
‘Those who consider Helen Garner the Australian Joan Didion want to compliment Garner, but maybe they are truly complimenting Didion.’
‘The chameleon-like non-fiction of the Australian Helen Garner, queen of the effervescent true crime, proves that reality is, at times, pure literature.’
‘This last story [Killing Daniel], shocked me so much that, in the absence of a punching ball, I jumped out of bed, put my shoes on and went for a run until my rage subsided. And I know—or thought I knew—how to control my anger.’
‘A first-class author, who shines with her open and sharp view… Her writing makes these real stories come alive.’