True Stories by Helen Garner

by
April 1996, no. 179
Buy this book

True Stories by Helen Garner

Text Publishing, $19.95 pb, 242 pp,

True Stories by Helen Garner

by
April 1996, no. 179

‘Curiosity is a muscle,’ Helen Garner declares in the first essay of this selection, displaying again the metaphorical spark that marks her out and keeps her readers plundering her pages. She is writing about writing, and her revelations couple a disarming intimacy – Garner the wry, lifelong apprentice, confiding trade secrets – with shrewd and reflexive moral admonition. Here, in a brief paragraph, is laid out the disciplinary ground of fiction and reportage, plus a private view of Garner’s workshop and tools: ‘Patience is a muscle,’ she continues. ‘What begins as a necessary exercise gradually becomes natural. And then immense landscapes open out in front of you.’ It’s a beguiling act, this ability of hers to be forever the journeywoman but in the assured allegorical diction of a latter-day Bunyan.

True Stories, a selection of her non-fiction works, is the yield of a quarter century of Garner’s habitual, patient, writerly curiosity. And of something else as well. Call it tenacity maybe, a stroppiness that is part anarchist perversity, part determination to winkle out the truth in complex human affairs. And always there is the mark of the scourge that she wields against narcissism, her own and others.

Morag Fraser reviews 'True Stories' by Helen Garner

True Stories

by Helen Garner

Text Publishing, $19.95 pb, 242 pp,

Buy this book

From the New Issue

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

If you are an ABR subscriber, you will need to sign in to post a comment.

If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.