This House of Grief

This House of Grief

The Story of A Murder Trial

Book - 2014
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'A gripping account of a murder trial in which few of the participants act and react in ways we might predict. It's an examination not just of what happened, but also of what we prefer to believe and what we cannot face believing.
Julian Barnes

'Garner's spare, clean style flowers into magnificent poetry.; Australian Book Review

;This House of Grief has all the trademark Helen Garner touches: harrowing scenes recorded without restraint or censorship; touching observations of characters; weaknesses; wry moments of humor; Guardian

;The twists and turns of this true-crime story are, in Garner's hands, more engrossing and dramatic than any thriller. Really, this is the kind of book you'll devour in one go; Age

;Clear-eyed and deeply moving; Garner's skills as a novelist combine with her journalist incisiveness to give a vivid, compassionate and complex assessment of the crime and the societal issues surrounding it; This House of Grief is a book that preys on the mind; its themes are enormous, classical and highly contemporary; NZ Herald

; Garner sat through [all the trials]: sifting the evidence, observing the duelling lawyers, digging deep into the relationships which contributed to the catastrophe. She has turned a courtroom drama into something deeply human; Australian Women's Weekly

Praise for Helen Garner's The Spare Room :

"Helen Garner is a great writer."; Peter Carey

"Swift, beautiful, and relentless."; Alice Sebold

"The Joan Didion of Australia"; Los Angeles Times

"Truthful, fearless, passionate."; Kate Grenville

On the evening of 4 September 2005, Robert Farquharson, a separated husband, was driving his three sons home to their mother when his car plunged into a dam. The boys, aged ten, seven, and two, drowned. Was this an act of deliberate revenge or a tragic accident? The court case became Helen Garner's obsession. She was in the courtroom every day of Farquharson's trial and subsequent retrial, along with countless journalists and the families of both the accused and his former wife.

In this utterly compelling book, Helen Garner tells the story of a man and his broken life. At its core is a search for truth that takes author and reader through complex psychological terrain. Garner exposes, with great compassion, that truth and justice are as complex as human frailty and morality.

Part of a nonfiction tradition that began with Truman Capote's In Cold Blood and continues in the works of Janet Malcolm, Erroll Morris, and others.

Helen Garner , born in 1942, is the author of numerous books of fiction and nonfiction. Her most recent novel The Spare Room was published to critical acclaim in 2010.

Publisher: Melbourne : Text Publishing, 2014.
ISBN: 9781922079206
Branch Call Number: 364.152309 GAR
Characteristics: 300 pages ; 24 cm


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Feb 07, 2016

Thoughtful and well-written but a very ordinary story.

thebeadedlady Mar 31, 2015

Similar to ‘Joe Cinque’s Consolation’, Garner tells the story of the trial and subsequent retrial and appeal of Robert Farquharson, father of ‘the boys in the dam’. Unlike a ‘traditional’ true crime book, she doesn’t go into great detail about the lives of the people involved or endlessly outline the forensics and evidence of the case, although she does touch on these where relevant. Instead, Garner relates the trial through ‘her own eyes’, and in my opinion, this is what makes the book so compelling to read, (apart from detailing one of Victoria’s most notorious and divisive crimes in recent times). Garner records the emotions and atmosphere of the court sessions, as well as her own conflicting emotions towards those present, including the defendant, friends and family, jurors, lawyers and journalists. She highlights some inadequacies of the justice system, describing her dismay at the way some witnesses were treated on the stand, and also candidly reports that the proceedings became so boring at times that she fell asleep, as did some of the jurors and lawyers. She also tells of times where she was so overwhelmed by the days events that she would run out of court or go home deeply distressed. Not a book to be enjoyed in the usual sense, but definitely one that gets you thinking.

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