Spanning 15 years of work, Everywhere I Look is an audiobook full of unexpected moments, sudden shafts of light, piercing intuition, flashes of anger and incidental humour. It takes us from backstage at the ballet to the trial of a woman for the murder of her newborn baby. It moves effortlessly from the significance of moving house to the pleasure of rereading Pride and Prejudice.
This House of Grief is a heartbreaking audiobook by one of Australia's most admired authors. Anyone can see the place where the children died. You take the Princes Highway past Geelong, and keep going west in the direction of Colac. Late in August 2006, soon after I had watched a magistrate commit Robert Farquharson to stand trial before a jury on three charges of murder, I headed out that way on a Sunday morning, across the great volcanic plain.
The Spare Room tells a story of compassion, humour and rage. The two women - one skeptical, one stubbornly serene - negotiate an unmapped path through Nicola's bizarre therapy, stumbling towards the novel's terrible and transcendent finale.
"I liked this."
Helen Garner visits the morgue, and goes cruising on a Russian ship. She sees women giving birth, and gets the sack for teaching her students about sex. She attends a school dance and a gun show. She writes about dreaming, about turning 50 and the storm caused by The First Stone. Her story on the murder of the two-year-old Daniel Valerio wins her a Walkley Award.
He straightened his spine, raised his head, and extended his gun arm towards me in a slow, vertical arc. I saw then what he was, and stood still in front of him, for he was here on business. He was a small, serious, stone-eyed angel of mercy. Janet is a skeptic, a journalist; Maxine revels in New Age fantasies; and Ray, a drifter, is a born-again Christian. The common ground is the house they share. But their fragile domestic balance is about to explode amid the smashing of ukeleles, the unexpected ascension of an angel and a sudden shower of jonquils.