Helen Garner’s Collected Stories



Helen Garner’s Postcards from Surfers was a revelation to me when I started writing. The silences within her stories are so bold and radical, it really showed me that writing is as much about what is on the page as what’s left off it.

The book also contains one of my favourite sentences of all time “When happiness comes… its so thick and smooth and uneventful, it’s like nothing at all.” Garner must have done a little dance after she’d written that.

The stories haven’t diminished in the years since I last read them and in all the noise that surrounds Garner’s work, it’s easy to forget why she’s one of Australia’s great writers: she simply has an extraordinary command of language, no matter what the subject.

It was a pleasure and an honour to review her collected stories for the Oz here.

Published by gretchenshirm

Sydney writer and critic. Author of Having Cried Wolf.

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