Helen Garner's gritty, lyrical first novel divided the critics on its publication in 1977. Today, Monkey Gripis regarded as a masterpiece--the novel that shines a light on a time and a place and a way of living never before presented in Australian literature: communal households, music, friendships, children, love, drugs, and sex.
When Nora falls in love with Javo, she is caught in the web of his addiction; and as he moves between loving her and leaving, between his need for her and promises broken, Nora's life becomes an intense dance of loving and trying to let go.
Helen Garneris one of Australia's finest authors. In 2006 she received the inaugural Melbourne Prize for Literature, and in 2016 she won the prestigious Windham-Campbell Prize for non-fiction. Her novels include Monkey Grip, The Children's Bach, Cosmo Cosmolinoand The Spare Room.
I rolled and rolled in the water, deafening my ears while I thought of, and discarded, all the reasons why I shouldn't go. I popped up, hanging on to the rail, hair streaming on my neck.
'OK. I'll come.'
Javo was looking at me.
So, afterwards, it is possible to see the beginning of things, the point at which you had already plunged in, while at the time you thought you were only testing the water with your toe.
'Garner is a natural storyteller.' James Wood, New Yorker
'Her use of language is sublime.' Scotsman
'This is the power of Garner's writing. She drills into experience and comes up with such clean, precise distillations of life, once you read them they enter into you. Successive generations of writers have felt the keen influence of her work and for this reason Garner has become part of us all.' Australian
'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.' The Timeson The Spare Room