Review: ‘Stories’ by Helen Garner

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Helen Garner is an Australian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist. Her first novel, Monkey Grip, was published in 1977, and established her as an original voice on the Australian literary scene. At 75, she is a hugely experienced writer; James Wood of the New Yorker calls her ‘A natural storyteller’. 25 January, 2018 sees the UK publication by Text of her collected short fiction: Stories.

There’s a timeless quality to Garner’s work which means it isn’t limited to Australian culture or society. She minutely dissects life as it is lived with a dizzying clarity of vision and deals with the smallest incidents and moments of unhappiness. She’s bracingly honest and psychologically acute; there is sometimes humour, but her stories are always challenging. She is working at the limit of the short story form.

Until I read this collection I’m embarrassed to say I was unfamiliar with Garner’s work;  this fascinating collection has made me want to read more.



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