Helen Garner’s second volume of diaries charts a tumultuous stage in her life. Beginning in 1987, as she embarks on an affair that she knows will be all-consuming, and ending in 1995 with the publication of The First Stone and the furore that followed it, Garner reveals the inner life of a woman in love and a great writer at work.
With devastating honesty and sparkling humour, she grapples with what it means for her sense of self to be so entwined with another—how to survive as an artist in a partnership that is both enthralling and uncompromising. And through it all we see the elevating, and grounding, power of work and the enduring value of friendship.
Helen Garner writes novels, stories, screenplays and works of non-fiction. In 2006 she received the inaugural Melbourne Prize for Literature, and in 2016 she won the prestigious Windham–Campbell Literature Prize for non-fiction and the Western Australian Premier’s Book Award. In 2019 she was honoured with the Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature. Her books include Monkey Grip, The Children’s Bach, Cosmo Cosmolino, The Spare Room, The First Stone, This House of Grief, Everywhere I Look and Yellow Notebook.
‘Garner is scrupulous, painstaking, and detailed, with sharp eyes and ears. She is everywhere at once, watching and listening, a recording angel at life’s secular apocalypses…her unillusioned eye makes her clarity compulsive.’ New Yorker
‘On the page, Garner is uncommonly fierce, though this usually has the effect on me of making her seem all the more likeable. I relish her fractious, contrarian streak – she wears it as a chef would a bloody apron – even as I worry about what it would be like to have to face it down.’ Guardian