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The Spare Room

by Helen Garner

Debut Books of the Month eBooks of the Month Modern and Classic Literary Fiction

LoveReading View on The Spare Room

This is a strange book about death for the narrator, the carer, somehow demands your sympathy more than the poor dying cancer sufferer, Nicola.  She stays in her friend’s spare room while undergoing alternative therapy that she believes will cure her.  We can all see that it won’t, but should you take hope away from a cancer victim?  A difficult question that is cruelly explored here in a wise narrative.

Comparison: Maggie O’Farrell, Zoë Heller, Alice Sebold.


Sarah Broadhurst

The Spare Room Synopsis

Helen has little idea what lies ahead when she offers her spare room to an old friend of fifteen years. Nicola has arrived in the city for treatment for cancer. Sceptical of the medical establishment, placing all her faith in an alternative health centre, Nicola is determined to find her own way to deal with her illness, regardless of the advice that Helen can offer. In the weeks that follow, Nicola's battle against her cancer will turn not only her own life upside down but also those of everyone around her. THE SPARE ROOM  is a magical gem of a book that packs a huge punch, charting a friendship as it is tested by the threat of death.

The Spare Room Press Reviews

'This novel's extraordinary feat is to be at once affecting, involving and sharply funny.' The Sunday Times

'Garner is a storyteller, an observer...Her style is beautifully simple...People who are on a fixed diet of fiction or who graze on airport shelves could cleanse their palates with Garner as they might once have done with Jane Austen.' Sydney Morning Herald

'A piece of fiction at once artful, gripping and fiercly beautiful . . . even at the most painful moments Garner maintains a characteristic lightness of touch, a combination of wit and lyricism that is immensely alluring . . . [An] extraordinary, exhilarating novel . . a burningly passionate account of the one experience we all will share - the journey out of life.' Olivia Laing, Observer

'Garner is known for her frankness, her distinctive blend of tender affection and brutal truth-telling . . . [The Spare Room] is a powerful piece of work . . . Garner has insights aplenty.'
Michel Faber, Guardian Review

'It's a book which asks unavoidable and painful questions, not least about the nature of friendship, with a clarity that offers no room for evasion. It refuses to offer easy answers or false comfort. A book for grown-up people, in other words. And the Lord knows, there are a lot of the other sort about.' Hilary Mantel

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781847672674
Publication date: 07/05/2009
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781847672674
Publication date: 7th May 2009
Author: Helen Garner
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 208 pages
Genres: Debuts of the Month, eBook Favourites, Literary Fiction,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Helen Garner

Born in 1942, Helen Garner lives in Australia. She has written both fiction and non-fiction, and also journalism, and her writing has been nominated for and won many awards. This is her first novel for fifteen years.

More About Helen Garner

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