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Everywhere I Look

by Helen Garner

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
16112133,618 (4.2)11
"I pedal over to Kensington just after dark. As I roll along the lane towards the railway underpass, a young Asian woman on her way home from the station walks out of the tunnel towards me. After she passes there's a stillness, a moment of silent freshness that feels like spring." Helen Garner is one of Australia's greatest writers. Her short non-fiction has enormous range. Spanning fifteen years of work, Everywhere I Look is a book full of unexpected moments, sudden shafts of light, piercing intuition, flashes of anger and incidental humour. It takes us from backstage at the ballet to the trial of a woman for the murder of her newborn baby. It moves effortlessly from the significance of moving house to the pleasure of re-reading Pride and Prejudice. Everywhere I Look includes Garner's famous and controversial essay on the insults of age, her deeply moving tribute to her mother and extracts from her diaries, which have been part of her working life for as long as she has been a writer. Everywhere I Look glows with insight. It is filled with the wisdom of life.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
Truly magnificent, bordering on perfect! Garner observations are detailed and astute across an expansive range of subject matter. She then converts these, along with insightful analysis, into diary entries, essays and stories with writing so eloquent I often stopped to reread segments, reflect, and wonder at the skill and grace. Brutally honest, about herself as much as others, but also tender and often hilarious, these pieces are mesmerising. ( )
  crimson-tide | Sep 16, 2020 |
She has a lovely turn of phrase and a delightful choice of words. Phrases that needed capturing often appeared.
‘he spoke with a gracious simplicity and with an impressive mastery of the Pause’
‘Gaita is a small, agile fellow, a rock climber from way back. Up he goes, smooth as a lizard. He leans down to me.’
‘I set out to write about my mother, but already I am talking about my father.
He is easy to write about. He was a vivid, obstreperous character who's jolting behaviour was a spectacle, an endurance test that united his children in opposition to him. Things he did or fail to do gave rise to hundreds of stories that we still share and embellish.’
In one chapter ‘The Singular Rosie’ she sensitively tells about her meeting and interviewing Rosie Batty, whose son, Luke, was murdered by his father. Very well reported.
An excellent book. Easy and pleasing to read. ( )
  GeoffSC | Jul 25, 2020 |
I very nearly gave up on this very early on, after all there is very little that a thrice married, 70 year old Australian grandmother and I actually have in common. The first few essays struck me as rather self centred and not terribly interesting to anyone else. But she became a lot more interesting when discussing other people. The essays were divided into seciton and that entitled "On Darkness" concerning crime and punishment both now and in the past, was the most interesting and by far the most moving of the sections. The seciton that focussed on literary fiction was very engaging and her essay on reading Jane Austen was very astute. As the essays passed either I became more attuned to her voice and her turn of phrase or she did become more engaging and open.
I've not heard of her before and while, based on this, I'm not going to actively seek out her work, I wouldn't shy away from reading some of her other non-ficiton. ( )
  Helenliz | Nov 19, 2019 |
I discovered this little gem of a book on one of the shelves in the free little library I started in my apartment building. The library has been successfully running for 12 months now and the reason the discovery was so exciting is because it was the first book to be donated that I personally wanted to read. Woohoo!

Everywhere I Look by Helen Garner is a collection of essays and diary extracts about a whole host of unrelated topics, written - and published elsewhere - over the last two decades or so.

This was my first introduction to Garner's writing and I now understand the reverence in which she's held. Helen certainly knows how to wield a pen and her everyday observations were enjoyable to read.

Her writing on the topics of ageing and being an 'invisible woman' were most interesting, as were her thoughts on several true crimes that occurred in Melbourne. I can understand Helen's fascination with what makes ordinary people 'snap' and commit terrible crimes and her dogged determination to find out is to be admired. She spent more than 7 years covering the trial and re-trial of Robert Farquharson, the man accused of deliberately drowning his three young sons by driving his car into a dam to produce This House of Grief.

I'm sure I'll read Helen Garner again, but I'm not convinced Everywhere I Look was the best place to start. If you have a recommendation for first-time readers, please let me know in the comments below. ( )
  Carpe_Librum | Sep 5, 2018 |
such amazing sentences, paragraphs and longer pieces ( )
  devilish2 | Jul 21, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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When I was in my forties I went on holiday to Vanuatu with a kind and very musical man to whom I would not much longer be married, though I didn't know it yet.
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"I pedal over to Kensington just after dark. As I roll along the lane towards the railway underpass, a young Asian woman on her way home from the station walks out of the tunnel towards me. After she passes there's a stillness, a moment of silent freshness that feels like spring." Helen Garner is one of Australia's greatest writers. Her short non-fiction has enormous range. Spanning fifteen years of work, Everywhere I Look is a book full of unexpected moments, sudden shafts of light, piercing intuition, flashes of anger and incidental humour. It takes us from backstage at the ballet to the trial of a woman for the murder of her newborn baby. It moves effortlessly from the significance of moving house to the pleasure of re-reading Pride and Prejudice. Everywhere I Look includes Garner's famous and controversial essay on the insults of age, her deeply moving tribute to her mother and extracts from her diaries, which have been part of her working life for as long as she has been a writer. Everywhere I Look glows with insight. It is filled with the wisdom of life.

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