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The Spare Room (Canons)


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About the Author

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 Prize for non-fiction. Her most recent book, Everywhere I Look, won the 2017 Indie Book Award for Non-Fiction. She lives in Melbourne.


At once artful, gripping and fiercely beautiful . . . even at the most painful moments Garner maintains a characteristic lightness of touch, a combination of wit and lyricism that is immensely alluring . . . [an] extraordinary, exhilarating novel [and] a burningly passionate account of the one experience we will all share -- OLIVIA LAING * * Observer * *
A perfect novel, imbued with all Garner's usual clear-eyed grace but with some other magnificent dimension that hides between the lines of her simple conversational voice. How is it that she can enter this heartbreaking territory - the dying friend who comes to stay - and make it not only bearable, but glorious, and funny? There is no answer except: Helen Garner is a great writer; The Spare Room is a great book -- PETER CAREY
Only great fiction demands us to reset our moral compass and look at our value coordinates all over again. The Spare Room achieves this . . . And yet in a book this spare, written with such grace, Garner introduces in the interstices a calm, precise poetry * * The Times * *
Exceptional . . . an unsettling and skilled work that raises important questions about the process of dying and what caring well for the dying requires . . . So powerful is The Spare Room's communication of the the triumphs and failures involved in dying . . . [that] the reader painfully ricochets between the various positions . . . Somehow as we read we actually become these characters . . . This extraordinary effect results in an uncomfortable read. Yet it is also an oddly exhilarating book - often funny, and grounded in a kind of ordinariness that is deeply restorative * * Financial Times * *
A wise and affecting book * * Daily Mail * *
In its bleak and highly comic storytelling, in spite, or perhaps, because of its subject matter, The Spare Room could be called a comedy of manners, in that its concern is how people behave towards each other and the repercussions of that behaviour. Its embattled characters are so real that by the last page you feel not just that you have read a magnificent novel but that you have experienced life itself -- PENNY PERRICK * * Sunday Times * *
This is no mere cancer memoir. Rather, in Garner's brilliant retelling, it is a complex examination of the limits of friendship and of the problems of remaining a single woman into middle age . . . This is a superbly clever novel * * Guardian * *
Swift, beautiful and relentless, The Spare Room is a brutal novel in the best sense -- ALICE SEBOLD
Compulsively readable, searing . . . The best book I have read for years. Beautifully written, The Spare Room is terse and pacy. Every taut sentence rings with painful purity and attack -- STEVIE DAVIES * * Independent * *
This novel's extraordinary feat is to be at once affecting, involving and sharply funny * * Sunday Times * *

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