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Cosmo Cosmolino

3.29  ·  Rating Details  ·  184 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
"He straightened his spine, raised his head, and extended his gun arm towards me in a slow, vertical arc. I saw then what he was, and stood still in front of him, for he was here on business. He was a small, serious, stone-eyed angel of mercy."

Janet is a skeptic, a journalist; Maxine revels in New Age fantasies; and Ray, a drifter, is a born-again Christian. The common gro
Paperback, 283 pages
Published April 26th 2012 by Text Publishing (first published January 1st 1992)
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This is an unusual collection of stories with two short stories and a novella. There is cross-over between some of the characters, seen as young people in the short stories and then re-appear in the novella as middle-aged, disappointed adults left behind by the 70s.

Janet is the owner of a large sprawling house that was once home to a large, bustling hippie commune. Now she rattles around her dilapidated home alone. Her short marriage has failed and she works as a freelance journalist, rarely le
A bit weird, but it kept me interested.
Feb 19, 2015 Josie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you Ms Garner for scaling down the crazy in this novel compared to those previous to it.
I really enjoyed both the short stories and novel contained in this book.
I was captured by its mystical tale and vivid characters.
Oh how I adored Maxine! What a horror and a delight she was.
Really really enjoyed this.
Jo Case
Mar 16, 2013 Jo Case rated it liked it
Cosmo Cosmolino (1992) was Helen Garner’s last work of fiction before she pioneered her own distinctive brand of questing, addictive narrative non-fiction with The First Stone.

It’s an unusual book; not quite a novel, not quite a short-story collection; both completely what you expect from a Helen Garner book (share houses, trams, ageing hippies, finely honed ‘kitchen table candour’, as Robert Dessaix put it when reviewing The Spare Room) and a surprising departure (faith, belief, angels, religio
May 04, 2014 Neil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grown-up, fragile, confused and partly jaded idealists from the 70s struggle with life in the 90s. Their inner city utopia has gradually, although unknowingly, turned dull and sad. This is the best of Helen Garner's inner-Melbourne communal living stories, because she allows these characters to truthfully admit their disappointment in the apparent failure of their artistic aspirations rather than hide behind the cloud of addiction, which was a very strong theme in Monkey Grip. There's a lot to l ...more
Nov 11, 2012 Sue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An incredibly descriptive writer, the pictures her sentences create and the artful way they are assembled is fabulous.
An enjoyable read - the first short story (Recording Angel) literally tumbles you from page to page and throws you onto the next story.
The next two stories didn't have quite the impact of the first (for me) but were equally interesting in their descriptive writing.

For instance a sentence from Cosmo Cosmolino:

"Its face, a faithful little moon, was turned up to her, its hands were
Apr 28, 2016 Lilian marked it as on-hold
I'm going to have to put this book down for a while. It feels a little like admitting defeat. I know if I put it down, I might never pick it back up which is a real shame because Garner's writing is beautiful. An example from where I stopped:

It was the season of winds. Air hissed all day and all night long, tremendous, sharp and dry. It travelled in off the northern grasslands, the stony rises, the mighty basalt plains barrelling furiously down freeways, rolling empty cans in the streets, strip
Jane Routley
One of the few Garner novels that doesn't read like thinnly disguised autobiography and one of the few I really enjoyed. A good read
Sep 12, 2015 Amber rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A strange, mystical and marvellous tale with interesting characters bizarrely thrown together in an uncomfortable house as ageing hippies moulded by their pasts.
Kris McCracken
Set in Jeff Kennett’s Melbourne, the chaotic communes and share-houses of the 1970s now contain bitter middle-aged people, uncomfortable in the individualistic and capitalist world they find themselves in. Drifting in and out are younger transients less tolerant of the collective temperament of the 70s. It is a tricky book, quite bleak, but never completely without hope.

It’s not perfect by any stretch, but as a capture of a specific time and place that now seems long ago (despite being only twen
Can't remember a thing about this - must re-read
Jul 22, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was interesting how the second short story tied in with the novella (although I'm still trying to figure out how the first one tied in). The novella had interesting characters, but I felt that the plot didn't really go anywhere and at times I found Garner's prose a bit confusing. I wouldn't say its the best of Garner's work, but is still worth reading if you are a Garner fan.
Jul 04, 2011 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just adored this book; same with most everything by Helen Garner. A testament to her writing: she and i probably have very little in common but I completely relate to most of her characters. I read every of hers I can get my hand on thought some are a bit obscure in the US. I highly recommend giving her a try.
Sophie Shanahan
Nov 05, 2012 Sophie Shanahan rated it liked it
Why can't we give half-stars? This was great- it sagged for a while in the middle, but Garner's voice is so vivid that you can't give up on her. And I'm glad I didn't. The first two stories are intense, and as the third picks up pace towards the end you realise you loved it, too.
Jacinta Fintan
Took me ages to read this book in between other books... got lost a few times. It wasn't bad, just not garner at her most glorious. But still.. in the end, she got me caught up in her intense characters that stay with you for days afterwards
Apr 17, 2012 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Took a while to actually get into this but once there, I was hooked. I liked it a lot and have one word to describe :)
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Helen Garner was born in Geelong in 1942. She has published many works of fiction including Monkey Grip, Cosmo Cosmolino and The Children's Bach. Her fiction has won numerous awards. She is also one of Australia's most respected non-fiction writers, and received a Walkley Award for journalism in 1993.

Her most recent books are The First Stone, True Stories, My Hard Heart, The Feel of Stone and Joe
More about Helen Garner...

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“How on earth could he not see it? It stood on the wooden floor behind him, in the corner just inside the door, where the light from the hallway poorly fell: an old-fashioned alarm clock with three blunt stumps for legs and a bell like a Prussian helmet. Its face, a faithful little moon, was turned up to her, its hands were spread to plead innocence, and its inner mechanism emitted without ceasing the rapid ribbon of blows called the passing of time.” 2 likes
“Ray kept well away from the shed. He hated the loony gestures of the furniture, its bossiness, the way Maxine would shape a table to enclose the sitter at it, trapping him like a baby in a high chair or a school boy at his inkwell.” 2 likes
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