Monkey Grip by Helen Garner

We’ve all known a couple that breaks up and gets back together over and over again. As teenagers, that sort of relationship drama seems to be part of the adolescent experience, but once you’re in your twenties and thirties the debriefings and speculation over what has been said and done wears thin.

Helen Garner’s Monkey Grip unpicks the relationship between Nora and Javo. It’s predominantly a story of addiction – Javo has a drug habit and Nora has a ‘Javo-habit’. As frequently as Javo says he is giving up drugs, Nora says she’s done with Javo. Neither stop and that is essentially the beginning and end of the story. Continue reading

Broadside 2019 – Helen Garner

What a day! The inaugural Broadside Festival opened with Helen Garner in conversation with Sarah Krasnostein.

It was the first time I’d heard Helen speak (despite trying to get to her rare speaking engagements in the past). My immediate impression was that she was much warmer and funnier than I had expected (I guess my expectations were unthinkingly based on her subject matter and her spare, pared-back prose).

The conversation began with talking about publishing a diary, something that by nature is intended to be private. On rereading her diaries, Helen said, “There was a lot of boring stuff in there, which naturally I found fascinating. To sort out what others would find interesting about you is actually quite a challenging process.” Continue reading

It’s all happening in November

Argh! Three excellent reading challenges for the month of November – what will I do? How can I squeeze them all in?!

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Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

01. It’s school holidays in Australia. We spent a few days with family in Kyneton (with some mountain-biking in Harcourt and a hike to the summit of Hanging Rock). Continue reading

The Stella Prize 2018 – longlist predictions

With just hours before the Stella Prize 2018 longlist is announced, I thought I’d take a stab at what I think will appear.

Apparently the judges had to work through more than 170 entries (look at that ace pic below!). Unlike the judges, I’ve only read a handful of eligible books but I’m aware of a bunch that keep crossing my radar. On that rather flimsy basis, I’m predicting the longlist*.

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Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

miffy-jumper

01. I’ve mentioned how much I love Miffy, right? This.

02. The Melbourne Writers Festival 2016 program was announced yesterday. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, which gives me a few more hours to sort out how I’ll manage #ALLTHEEVENTS (on my radar are Shriver, Flanagan, Tsiolkas, Wood, Garner, Funder, Earls, Beneba Clarke). Continue reading

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

my-brilliant-friend-elena-ferrante

Dear Book-Blogging-Corner-of-the-Interwebs,

I respect and trust your opinion on almost #ALLTHEBOOKS* but I feel like you’ve let me down on the Ferrante-front. You know what I’m talking about. You loved it. You promised a sinuous, immersive tale of life in Naples, of violence and fierce love, of female friendship and deep loyalty. You didn’t tell me it would be such a wretched slog. But I pushed through, trusting you. Continue reading