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September 14, 2019


#AWW2019 Helen Garner

by NancyElin

  • Author:  Helen Garner
  • Title: Everywhere I Look
  • Published: 2016
  • Genre: essays
  • Rating: A+++++
  • Trivia: 2017 Indie Book Awards WINNER non-fiction
  • Trivia: 2018 longlist Kibble Literary Award for an established author
  • Trivia: 2017 shortlist NSW Premier’s Literary Award
  • List of Challenges 2019
  • Monthly plan
  • #AWW2019
  • @AusWomenWriter



  1. I immediately felt an connection with Helen Garner when
  2. reading this book.
  3. The years are creeping up on both of us and she describes
  4. moments I have gone through.


My Notes:


  1. 6 shoeboxes of old photographs
  2. that failed to make the cut for the album.
  3. and having to endure how young we looked
  4. I threw out all the photo’s and negatives
  5. ….just like Helen did!


Cleaning out closets…

  1. Storage room, drawers….just like Helen said
  2. “once you start you have to keep going til it’s done”.
  3. In July it took me 9 days to clean out my house from top to bottom.
  4. I hesitated when I had to throw
  5. out my favorite sweatshirt.
  6. It was 10 yrs old, fraying at the cuffs.
  7. It had to go but I still think about it!



  1. A house can be domineering,
  2. ….you have to get into the driver’s seat.
  3. Bed…is mother
  4. ...and bed is the center of our personal universe.
  5. It is the safe point from which we let
  6. …ourselves down in to the shadows of sleep.
  7. In August I finally decided to get a new bed…after 40 years!
  8. It is deluxe and I feel the arms of mother embracing me every time
  9. I go to sleep.


Dear Mrs. Dunkley

  1. We all have a teacher that was unforgettable
  2. Who was yours?


Part Three: Dreams of Her Real Self

  1. So impressive thoughts about Helen Garner’s
  2. grandchildren, daughter, mother, father….


Authors I met in the book:

Elizabeth Jolley -Novels

  1. Palomino (1980)
  2. The Newspaper of Claremont Street (1981)
  3. Miss Peabody’s Inheritance (1983)
  4. Mr Scobie’s Riddle (1983)
  5. Milk and Honey (1984)
  6. Foxybaby (1985)
  7. The Well (1986)
  8. The Sugar Mother (1988)
  9. My Father’s Moon (1989)
  10. Cabin Fever (1990)
  11. The Georges’ Wife (1993)
  12. The Orchard Thieves (1995) 
  13. Famous last line in this book:
  14. ‘The difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut is a week.’
  15. Lovesong (1997)
  16. An Accommodating Spouse (1999)
  17. An Innocent Gentleman (2001)


Janet Malcom (1934) 

  1. American writer,  journalist, staff writer The New Yorker
  2. Is the writer who influenced and taught
  3. Helen Garner more than any other!
  4. According to Garner, Janet Maclom draws on
  5. deep learning yet plain in its address.
  6. That is a perfect description of Garner’s writing as well!


Other writers:

  1. Jacob Rosenburg “Sunset West”
  2. Alex Miller – “Coal Creek”
  3. Raimond Gaita
  4. “Romulus, My Father” (Australian philosopher)
    It tells the story of Romulus, his beautiful wife, Christina, and their struggle in the face of great adversity to bring up their son, Raimond. It is a story of impossible love that ultimately celebrates the unbreakable bond between father and son.
    Best Film Australian Film Industry 2007



  1. This was a book I did not want to end.
  2. Garner’s insights about Russel Crowe’s filmography
  3. and an Australian Ballet company were mesmerizing.
  4. But my favorite essay was ‘The Insults of Age”.
  5. This will be recognizable for every 60+’er!
  6. Helen Garner’s writing is clean and crisp
  7. ..nothing is slick or shallow.
  8. It is “reading caviar” !


Read more from Uncategorized
12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sep 14 2019

    Absolutely agree with you, I didn’t want it to end either. What more can I say, Nancy!

    • Sep 14 2019

      I only hope that Helen Garner writes more of these type of essays.
      I found it so interesting her remarks about authors,
      filmography of actor and her vist to the ballet was wonderful!
      It does not always have to be true crime…but her books are very good in that genre.
      Thanks for your comments, Sue…and I’m still looking for teachers in Aus Literature!

      • Sep 14 2019

        She has written more. A collection, True stories, was published last year or the year before, that collects together several books, including this one. She’s just great writer!

  2. Sep 14 2019

    I have TRUE STORIES on my “Trip Down Under’ reading list (post dd. 12 September)
    This is a list in progress and will add and substract at times.
    I’ve never read Elizabeth Jolley. Should I read her novels chronologically ( I am doing with Thea Astley)…or should I concentrate on a few of her BEST novels. Please helo!

    • Sep 16 2019

      I think I would try her chronologically Nancy, particularly the first few books, and of course the autobiographical trilogy. It may not be so critical with the later books. I haven’t read them all but I’ve read enough to feel that a chronological approach would be best at the start.

      • Sep 16 2019

        Thanks for the feedback, Sue!

  3. Sep 16 2019

    I’m a huge fan of Garner’s non-fiction too. I loved this book. Haven’t read any of her fiction yet though.

    I tried a Jolley or 2 in my younger years, but failed to connect to her characters. She had a very interesting life story I believe.

    • Sep 16 2019

      Well, I plan to read Garner’s non-fiction and skip her fiction.
      She tired of trying to think up a narrative in fiction…and ofte uesd situations based on real people. That got her into a lot of hot water! Helen Garner shines with non-fiction.
      I clicked immediately with Thea Astley and all her quirky characters, strong women characters who could be suave and sexy, Catholic Church bashing and sarcasm! I will try Jolley…starting at the beginning of her list of novels. I’m curious how she will portray women in her books!
      Thanks for your comments, Brona!

      • Sep 16 2019

        As you know, I’m a fan of reading an author in chronological order when you can. I only had 5 Iris Murdoch’s on my shelf, but I read them in order with Lyzzybee’s readalong & it has been interesting maturing along with Murdoch. I suspect Jolley would grow with you the same way.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. #AWW2019 ‘My trip Down Under’ | NancyElin
  2. #NonFicNov week 1: Year in Non-Fiction | NancyElin
  3. #NonficNov: Week 1 Year in Non-Fiction | NancyElin

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