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The Spare Room (2008)

by Helen Garner

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,0139620,618 (3.92)167
Helen lovingly prepares her spare room for her friend Nicola. She is coming to visit for three weeks, to receive treatment she believes will cure her cancer. From the moment Nicola staggers off the plane, gaunt and hoarse but still somehow grand, Helen becomes her nurse, her guardian angel and her stony judge. The Spare Room tells a story of compassion, humour and rage. The two women-one sceptical, one stubbornly serene-negotiate an unmapped path through Nicola's bizarre therapy, stumbling towards the novel's terrible and transcendent finale.… (more)
  1. 00
    Suddenly by Bonnie Burnard (kathrynnd)
    kathrynnd: Both books are about women, friendship, and cancer.
  2. 00
    Undressing The Moon by T. Greenwood (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: The value of a friend when diagnosed with cancer.
  3. 01
    My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult (lucyknows)
    lucyknows: The Spare Room by Helen Garner may be paired with The Household Guide to Dying by Debra Adelide or My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult.
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» See also 167 mentions

English (90)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (1)  All languages (96)
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
I started with [a:Helen Garner|332165|Helen Garner|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1332565089p2/332165.jpg] [b:Everywhere I Look|28818628|Everywhere I Look|Helen Garner|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1455172355l/28818628._SY75_.jpg|49036034] and read Claire Fuller's review which is hard to top. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3253836375?book_show_action=false&from... I was also reminded of the plot of the [a:Sigrid Nunez|6633|Sigrid Nunez|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1529285691p2/6633.jpg] [b:What Are You Going Through|51152434|What Are You Going Through|Sigrid Nunez|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1585361945l/51152434._SY75_.jpg|74855144] about friendships under strain. Engrossing story and a refreshing Australian setting. ( )
  featherbooks | May 7, 2024 |
I felt the raw and conflicting emotions as if I was Helen. The ending sentences are so sparse but heavy with the finality of saying goodbye. I also felt the description of being close but not the closest friend was deftly conveyed. ( )
  rachelobrien606 | Feb 9, 2024 |
amazing grace - see Diana Athill's blurb
also see Oct 2023 article NYr by Helen Sullivan who interviewed Garner in Melbourne ( )
  Overgaard | Feb 20, 2023 |
One of the most emotionally true stories I've read about illness, caregiving, and friendship. #aww2013 ( )
  Chris.Wolak | Oct 13, 2022 |
A woman cares for her friend as she is dying and denying that she is dying from cancer. ( )
  LivelyLady | Apr 29, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
One sweltering summer day, Helen Garner joined mourners at the funeral of a former member of a performing troupe whose lives she had chronicled in her 1977 debut novel Monkey Grip, that tale of smack habits, communal houses and plenty of lustful sex. When the simple pine coffin was lowered to its resting place by men who took turns shovelling earth in keeping with Jewish ritual, "Helen pushed right to the front, to the lip of the grave, and got out her notebook and started to write," recalls theatre director Peter King. `Some people thought, `Oh my God.'"
 

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Helen Garnerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Falkner, GerhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferrer, IsabelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matocza, NoraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Solum, KristinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Versluys, MarijkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vezzoli, DelfinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Belongs to Publisher Series

BvT (0665)
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Epigraph
It is a privilege to prepare the place where someone else will sleep.
-- Elizabeth Jolley
Dedication
First words
First, in my spare room, I swivelled the bed on to a north-south axis.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Helen lovingly prepares her spare room for her friend Nicola. She is coming to visit for three weeks, to receive treatment she believes will cure her cancer. From the moment Nicola staggers off the plane, gaunt and hoarse but still somehow grand, Helen becomes her nurse, her guardian angel and her stony judge. The Spare Room tells a story of compassion, humour and rage. The two women-one sceptical, one stubbornly serene-negotiate an unmapped path through Nicola's bizarre therapy, stumbling towards the novel's terrible and transcendent finale.

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