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The Feel Of Steel

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  274 ratings  ·  20 reviews
"Although I have been married three times, I have never been a bride. What – me, in a big white dress? In a veil? The closest I ever got to the fantasy was back in the eighties, when I used to admire the white gypsophila crowns that Susan Renouf wore to parties: I drew a curious satisfaction from their ethereal, circular, brow-pressing beauty. Twenty years later all that's ...more
Paperback, 223 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Picador (first published November 10th 2007)
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Jennifer (JC-S)
Jun 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
‘Everything around me is seething with meaning, if I can only work out what it is.’

In this collection of 31 non-fiction writings, Helen Garner combines observation and musing about various aspects of life in a way invites readers to experience that which is mystical and powerful in occurrences which are sometimes mundane, and sometimes not. The appeal is broad: a casual reader will find pleasure and a more serious reader will find plenty to think about.

The ‘Feel of Steel’ poses a number of quest
Jill Lawson
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Helen Garner is a national treasure! Her personal essays are absolute gems to savour and delight in. They sparkle and shine, and draw you in with warmth and humour and hope, even in darkness and despair. Time spent with her is time well spent.
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have to admit I really struggle to review Helen Garner's works. I find myself being quickly swept into the words on the page and I do not stop reading. I do not take notes, I just keep reading and soaking it all in.
In the Feel of Steel, Garner has given us an insight into some of the curly moments of her life, from the doubts one faces after a divorce, placing your mother in a nursing home and struggling to write words on the page. These insights are quite extraordinary with her honesty and v
Maree Kimberley
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aww2015
I love Helen Garner's writing. She finds the brilliance in the smallest moments, brings the everyday to life and writes with such poignancy. Not a word is ever wasted. I found this little gem in a second hand bookshop so not sure if it is still in print, but if you get a chance to read it, do. ...more
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
A little repetitive and not engaging. I find myself simply not caring about much of these personal anecdotes. Starting to think she might have done better sticking with fiction.
Oct 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I have read a few of Garner's books now and I can really hear her as a person struggling in this work. The point in life she discusses is a difficult point, one that is hidden from most people and I think she captures it beautifully via snippets of events and happenings. In this book Garner is taking stock of her life and finding places where she is still worthwhile. In that sense I think this is a powerful book, not only a reflection of Garner but of women in a wider sense. The perspective of a ...more
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I can’t fault Helen Garner, she is who I turn to for reassurance that all is not lost, that everything will be alright. Garner writes with her heart on her sleeve, she is brutally honest and at times full of irony. These short stories delve into middle age and it’s associated frailties, but Garner also sees the funny side of life. Her stories about her aging parents are both poignant and touching, I can particularly relate to them.
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
I find it a lot easier to write reviews when I have something critical to say, and I really enjoyed this book so I can't think of a lot to say about it. I love the way Helen Garner describes people and places and feelings. My favourite essay, by far, was Tower Diary. I would read entire book of just Helen Garner's diary (well I guess that's what Monkey Grip was, wasn't it). ...more
Heather Browning
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Just gorgeous. Garner's collection of short stories are short biographical that are both poetic and honest. Her account of her Antarctic voyage firmed my resolve to one day visit myself, and I was glad to learn in another story that I'm not the only person who forgets the content of most of the novels I read! ...more
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a collection of short essays based on Garner's own life experiences and observations. Whether it's a hilarious colonic irrigation in a Thai health spa, thought provoking comments on her struggles with reading the Bible or the deeply poignant account of her mother's slide into Alzheimers and many more, she writes with her usual honesty, clarity and wit. ...more
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
One of the many ways Garner is brilliant is in the weight that she manages to attach to seemingly incidental things (wine spilt on a favourite dress, someone locked in a toilet).
How lucky for the rest of us to have someone with such a sharp eye, so bold and skilled at describing what she sees and feels.
Nov 06, 2010 marked it as to-read
relate to SJG Hypocrite in Pouffy White Dress
Dec 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2011
An old favourite found amongst my parents shelves on returning to Tassie for Christmas :) I never tire of Garner's writing. ...more
Dec 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I need to upskill in journal writing. Helen Garner writes the most excellent vignettes.
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Interesting. Insightful, well written.
Jan 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
One of the most poignant biographies I have read. Captured everything I wanted monkey grip to capture.
Susan Wishart
Aug 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Helen Garner's short story collections are always a delight. ...more
Read in Feb 2020 as part of True Stories: The Collected Short Non Fiction.
Dee Rose
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Funny and witty observations about humans. Just what you would expect from the always switched on Helen Garner. :-)
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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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