Helen Garner is one of Australia’s most beloved authors. In a prolific career spanning decades, she has produced an extraordinary range of fiction and non-fiction, cementing her status as a national treasure. Now, to celebrate her 75th birthday, Text are publishing two elegant hardback collections of the very best of her short fiction and her essays.
In True Stories, Helen visits a morgue, and takes a trip on a Russian cruise ship. She sees women giving birth, gets the sack for teaching her students about sex, and attends a school dance and a gun show. She writes about dreaming, about turning fifty, and the storm caused by The First Stone. Her story on the murder of the two-year-old Daniel Valerio wins her a Walkley Award. True Stories is an extraordinary collection, both passionate and compelling, spanning fifty years of work by one of Australia’s great writers.
Stories gathers together some of Helen’s most beloved short fiction, including the critically acclaimed Postcards from Surfers, in which a young woman writes postcards that she will never send to a former lover. An unmotivated musician is able to live off women thanks to his mournful good looks in Did He Pay? while the narrator in A Happy Story attempts to rid herself of a Talking Heads concert ticket. Mostly written in the 1980s and 1990s, each story is perfectly formed, told with her characteristic sharpness of observation and humour.
Praise for Helen Garner
‘A combination of wit and lyricism that is immensely alluring.’ The Observer
‘Garner’s prose is so very pleasant to read—dry, relaxed sentences that calmly reach out towards loveliness… it’s this kind of willingness to look at and truly see the failures of human behaviour, in herself no less than in others, that lends her work its power.’ The Guardian
‘Garner is a natural storyteller …her unillusioned eye makes her clarity compulsive.’ James Wood, New Yorker
‘Garner’s stories share characteristics of the postcard: they flash before us carefully recorded images that remind us of harsher realities not pictured. And like postcards they are economically written, a bit of conversation is transcribed, a memory recalled, an event noted, scenes pass as if viewed from a train—momentarily, distinct and tantalising in their beauty.’ New York Times
‘Garner is a beautiful writer who winkles out difficult emotions from difficult hiding places.’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Garner writes with a fearsome, uplifting grace.’ Metro UK
Helen Garner was born in 1942 in Geelong, and was educated there and at Melbourne University. Her first novel, Monkey Grip, won the 1978 National Book Council Award, and was adapted for film in 1981. Since then she has published novels, short stories, essays, and feature journalism including The First Stone, Joe Cinque’s Consolation and The Spare Room which won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction, the Queensland Premier’s Award for Fiction and the Barbara Jefferis Award, and has been translated into many languages. Helen Garner lives in Melbourne. She is available for interview and to write features.
Text Publishing is a leading Australian independent publisher, winner of Small Publisher of the year 2012, 2013 and 2014. Text publishes the finest Australian writers, both old and new. Launched in 2012, the Text Classics list champions Australian greats including Thomas Keneally and Kate Grenville, while Text is also committed to finding and publishing the best contemporary writing for an international audience. Text publishes internationally acclaimed authors including Herman Koch, Ruth Ozeki, Yann Martel, Geoff Dyer, Jeanette Winterson, Lionel Shriver, Ali Smith, Julian Assange and J.M. Coetzee in the local market, while selling numerous leading authors to publishers around the world. These include Tim Flannery, Graeme Simsion, Lloyd Jones, Toni Jordan and Peter Temple. Text is distributed by Turnaround in the UK.
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