Tuesday 26 July 2016

Everywhere I Look by Helen Garner

Everywhere I Look by Helen Garner is a book to savour slowly.

And I did.

And I will again many, many times as time goes by.

A friend recently told me that she doesn't buy many books (she works in a library and doesn't really need to) but she bought a copy of Everywhere I Look (after reading the library copy) for two reasons.

One - the book was so wonderful that she wanted to support the author and her 'luminous writing'.

Two - she wanted to have her own copy so that she could dip in and out of it again and again whenever she wanted. And she felt that she was going to want to do this very often.

Everywhere I Look is that kind of book.

Despite the number of years this book spans, Garner's various essays, diary entries, letters and observations hang together gracefully. They range from thoughts on moving house, her friendship with Tim Winton, her reaction to the movie Red Dog, meeting Rosie Batty, a wonderful section on literary appreciation to hilarious observations on ageing.

There is so much to love and ponder. So much to connect to. So much of the personal Garner, warts and all.

One of the endearing qualities of this collection is how Garner imbues the familiar and everyday with a touch of beauty and charm, even when she is being scathing. She also gives us hope that the passing of time can finally bring us some form of healing and wisdom.

It's tempting to fill this review with all the wonderful Garner quotes I noted in this book as I read it. However I think you should discover this lovely little gem for yourself and discover the particular sections that resonate with you.

This book really spoke to me at a very female level. I don't mean feminine or even feminist. Garner actually spoke to me at some kind of deep-seated genetic, chromosomal level.

Even though our lives and life choices are vastly different, I saw and I understood and I felt seen and understood in return.

10/20 Books of summer (winter)


  1. I'm delighted to report that there are 22 reservations for the 4 copies of her book at the library where I work and the e-Audio book and the e-book are also out on loan. I shall add my name to the waiting list. The e-Audiobook is read by Helen and the little extract I heard sounds great fun.

    1. Ohh the audio read by Helen would be fabulous!

      I'm not surprised to hear about the long line waiting to read this book. Our local library has the same issue. I hope you get to read it soon Alex.

  2. Lovely review Brona. I've bought, but not read this book. I will try and read it soon, because I'm going to her session at MWF! Extra incentive. I've seen Helen Garner speak a few times now, it's always fabulous.

    1. Lucky you! Who else are you planning to see at the MWF?

    2. I'm a bit excited about it. Sadly I missed out on opening night tickets. They've changed the opening night from Melbourne Town Hall to Fed Square- it's clearly not big enough, as all sold out when I tried to buy tickets 3 days in.... But as well as Helen Garner, I will see Liane Moriarty, Rosie Batty, David Levithan, Rainbow Rowell, Stan Grant and Anita Heiss. And there may well be a yum cha or two and some other deliciousness... I'm pretty excited about the Degas exhibition and the Del Kathryn Barton one too.

  3. Oh and I just started Everywhere I look last night, but only managed 3 pages before I fell asleep.


This blog has now moved to Wordpress.
Please visit This Reading Life to comment.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.