05 September 2018

Review: Everywhere I Look by Helen Garner

I discovered this little gem of a book on one of the shelves in the free little library I started in my apartment building. The library has been successfully running for 12 months now and the reason the discovery was so exciting is because it was the first book to be donated that I personally wanted to read. Woohoo!

Everywhere I Look by Helen Garner is a collection of essays and diary extracts about a whole host of unrelated topics, written - and published elsewhere - over the last two decades or so.

This was my first introduction to Garner's writing and I now understand the reverence in which she's held. Helen certainly knows how to wield a pen and her everyday observations were enjoyable to read.

Her writing on the topics of ageing and being an 'invisible woman' were most interesting, as were her thoughts on several true crimes that occurred in Melbourne. I can understand Helen's fascination with what makes ordinary people 'snap' and commit terrible crimes and her dogged determination to find out is to be admired. She spent more than 7 years covering the trial and re-trial of Robert Farquharson, the man accused of deliberately drowning his three young sons by driving his car into a dam to produce This House of Grief.

I'm sure I'll read Helen Garner again, but I'm not convinced Everywhere I Look was the best place to start. If you have a recommendation for first-time readers, please let me know in the comments below.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!

Would you like to comment?

  1. I'm so glad you can see why she is revered. I absolutely loved Everywhere I look. It's a great introduction to her essay style and to her world view.

    My reading group did something different this year... Instead of choosing a book we did a Garner night. It was fascinating. It's hard to recommend where to start, but Joe Cinque's consolation is great, albeit non-fiction, or Monkey grip, her first novel OR The children's Bach OR The spare room are good novels. But she is controversial in most of what she writes.

  2. Thanks, a 'Garner night' sounds fascinating. Another reader has recommended I start with Joe Cinque's Consolation as well, so I might have to look into that.

    I don't mind controversial and she definitely has a way with words I admire. An author I really need to come back to.


Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!