What I love in Helen Garner’s writing is a particular kind of closeness to self, the good, greedy, mistaken, emotional, fierce, sceptical, changing and disrupting self. Garner makes so much from what seems to be just her individual sense, individual observation – rather than anything made by and for the group. But I also love the beautiful strong contradiction in her work: she’s always fighting to come back enough, as well, to find enough that can stop the self; enough of a good order, a rule, a law, a family, a home.
In a brilliantly argued and very personal essay, Sean O’Beirne looks at the whole of Helen Garner’s writing life so far – from Monkey Grip to the recently published Diaries – while trying to come to terms with the demands, and the rewards, of Garner’s extraordinary, radical individualism and honesty.
In the Writers on Writers series, leading authors reflect on an Australian writer who has inspired and fascinated them. Provocative and crisp, these books start a fresh conversation between past and present, shed new light on the craft of writing, and introduce some intriguing and talented authors and their work.
Published by Black Inc. in association with the University of Melbourne and State Library Victoria.