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True Stories: Selected Non Fiction

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  645 ratings  ·  56 reviews
242 pages
Published 1996 by Text Pub.
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  645 ratings  ·  56 reviews

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So many favourites amongst this collection. Personally I connected with the later stories but this collection I think will be enjoyed with great pleasure by anyone who loves the written word
Favourites are
All the stories of life with the authors 4 sisters and one almost invisible brother
Germaine Greer and feminism
On turning 50
The mortuary
The horrendously terrifying tale of a visit to a gun expo, pay particular attention to the expressions on the men's faces
omg. The story of being a court reporter
Maree Kimberley
I've always been a fan of Helen Garner's writing and this collection of non-fiction essays has plenty of gems. Most of the collection was written during the 1980s & 90s and includes her interesting take on high school teaching (naive but somehow right), country living (a little overwritten for me) and a reflection on the reactions to her controversial book, The First Stone. There is an honesty and forthrightness about Garner's writing that gets right to the guts of things. Whether you're an admi ...more
Anne Fenn
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Excellent writing on an interesting range of subjects. I loved her sisters piece . Her reflections on the reception of The First Stone are enlightening, makes me mad all over again about how some people missed her point about power, who has it and how it's used. Lots of people supported her view. One or two pieces were too close to the bone for me, birth and death, she goes where I don't want to. Helen Garner is the ultimate crafter of clear, complex, compelling writing. Just an immensely enjoya ...more
Cheyenne Blue
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this very slowly, dipping in and out of each essay. The majority I really enjoyed, a couple I skipped over. Well written, with clear writing that has stood the test of time.

Favourites were the one about turning 50, and one earlier on, when she interviews her sisters.
Ruby Noise
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like the way Helen Garner writes, she can tell a story that makes you feel like you are there standing alongside her in the tale. Christos Tsiolkos makes me feel the same way, all my senses come alive when I read them both. Must be something in the Melbourne water.

I had read this book years ago and borrowed it again from the library recently and enjoyed it as much as I did the first time around. The stories involve life in all its stages. The tale of the Melbourne Mortuary really hit home thi
Ron Brown
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is my fourth Garner book. It wasn’t till I was well into it that I realized that it had been first published some years ago (1996) In 1997 it won the Kibble Literary Award. I had wondered why another selection of short stories had been released so soon after “Everywhere I Look.”
The stories in this anthology were written in the 1980s and early 1990s. I find Garner’s writing personal with just enough style and finesse to stop you occasional and reflect on the image that she has created with
Aug 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Some great pieces that evoke modern Australia wonderfully - I particularly liked the account of teaching sex ed to migrant children. Occasionally a little boring. I'd recommend the Audible version that is read by the author herself.

The one inclusion that seemed really out-of-place was Garner's weirdly defensive account of the criticism she received after publishing The First Stone (which I haven't read) - this reads like a grumbly whinge motivated by a bad community reaction to the book. The sa
Jeanie Blyth
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved these short non fiction stories which I heard read aloud by the author as an audio book. She tackles subjects not pleasurable to all readers, and for this I appreciate her all the more. I did wonder if I would have been able to actually read some of these stories on the page, but managed to hold to her honest resonant voice enough to bear one story in particle. Listening being, for me, a more receptive way of taking in information, compared to the activity of reading.
Some stories I need
A collection of short stories based on her own life. Everyone has stories. It has me remembering aspects of my own life in vivid detail. She's a master observer and recorder of the human condition.
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection was as impressive as I had expected. There are many powerful pieces here. In some cases the power comes from the subject matter; for example, the utterly heartbreaking 'Killing Daniel', which will stay with me for a very long time. In other cases, the subject matter is mundane on the surface, but Garner's observational skill and the quality of the writing transform what might be dull or conventional in other hands into something significant and moving.

All the pieces in this colle
Aug 21, 2015 rated it liked it
True Stories is an interesting short story collection if only because it shows the evolution of Helen Garner as a writer. As a fan of Garner's later work - the Spare Room, Joe Cinque's consolation, and the breathtaking "This House of Grief" - it is fascinating to see how comparatively clunky and naïve was some Garner's earlier writing. I could barely believe that the acerbic and insightful Garner whose work I love, actually was so naïve as to believe that a sex education class in which she as a ...more
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
With masterly writing and amazing insights into the human condition, both personally and about others, Helen Garner takes us on a series of honest reflections of her work, of court cases, of bumping into people or overhearing their conversations. There's a lovely spareness to her prose which lays bare her meaning but is nevertheless evocative. I loved the "take no prisoners" interactions between her sisters, the way she closed up like a clam when asked for money, and her thoughts on feminism!
Jennie Diplock-Storer
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was an audiobook, read by Helen Garner herself.

I'm a huge admirer of Garner as a writer & to hear her read her own true short stories was a gift. It brought them vigorously to life as she imparted her spirit, & it's a big spirit, generously into her reading.

I loved these stories. Some very Australian, some very raw, some about her family, some about her quest for self.

Highly recommended.
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just loved this brilliant collection of non-fiction stories from one of Australia's finest writers, if not the finest in non-fiction writing, ever. Helen Garner's observations on life and what it is to be human are exceptional.
Rose Gowen
Nov 30, 2017 rated it liked it
The edition I have was published this year or last year and has many more pages than this one. My husband went to Australia and brought it back for me.

I love her.

I read some review here on GR that was like, Helen, we don't care about your life. I scoffed when I read that, but then, somewhere in the middle of the edition I have, I saw what he meant. I don't feel the same way-- I do care about her life-- but some of her writing about it was pretty undercooked.

This is occasional writing, so it's a
Michael Burge
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Helen Garner nearly lost me in this collection... complaining about the privilege of appearing at writer's festivals, and having to write reviews for money (I mean come ON Helen, in this tough literary marketplace, that ignoble complaining is just embarrassing!).

But the writing is too darned good to dwell on the confessions of an author who has lived through some of the greatest literary upheavals in this country.

All the embryonic versions of her later long-form non-fiction can be traced to thes
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
True Stories: Selected non-fiction by Helen Garner. Helen Garner has become a favourite author of mine. Helen writes about the ordinary things of life that when observed and thought about are full of life. I thoroughly enjoyed this non-fiction collection of Helen’s works. Her stories include her observations and reflections of train rides, a labor ward, a crematorium, turning 50 and much more. Her conversations with her sisters were delightful. I’d recommend this book to anyone who would like de ...more
Prudence Loon
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm going to have to mark this one DNF only because of the sheer volume of the book. I borrowed it from the library and have already renewed it once so I'll return it for now and take it out another time. Helen Garner is an amazing writer. I especially enjoy her non-fiction and am inspired by how she can make a piece out of anything. I would like to own a copy of this substantial book to be able to dip in and out at will.
Pip Snort
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Helen Garner's voice is a calm, strong and loving guide through a variety of observations of Australian life. With wit and hope and care she examines birth and death, boredom and enthusiasm, moonlight and darkness, city and bush. One cannot fail to learn about oneself while absorbing her thoughts about her siblings, home, child, marriage, work and travel. A delight.
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Probably a good book. But it was almost impossible to go through the sex education she kindly provided to a group of young kids: Colorful details of which were unwarranted for and no way sounded like real education in any part of the world. Apologies, I had lost my appetite to read more of her true stories.
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
This is far from Garner's usual exquisitely simple and brilliant writing but it is an interesting look at the development of a writer and some of the stories offered glimpses at the brilliance that would come in their acerbic observations of life, death and the in between.
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-book
Helen Garner has a wonderful turn of phrase. Hearing her read these selected stories by the author herself added enormous validity and a subjective element to the material. I love her honesty & now I'm off to find those early works I haven't read yet. ...more
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has an amazing array of pieces. It is great hearing them read by the author. As a sister, I loved the piece on sisters and laughed in recognition. The piece on the cottage in the country was evocative. And the article on the murder of Daniel Valerio is rightly sickening.
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Finished: 23.12.2019
Genre: essays
Rating: A++
Helen Garner of my favorite writers.

My Thoughts
Sharon Marchingo
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Helen Garner took me to some places I didn't want to go (e.g. to the crematory and the place where they dissect bodies) but I can't complain as it was all well-written and astute as usual.
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Bought it for light reading on a flight. Could hardly put it down once we landed. Real life - her own & others. Now I'm looking for her other books . . . ...more
Julia Gallie
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Easy to read stories, interesting and sometime quite raw and a bit too real.
Kathleen Evans
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio-book
I love Helenn Garner's work so any revue would be totally biased.
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Beautifully observed life and times. Brings back memories of another era late 80s to early 90s.
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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

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