Everywhere I Look by Helen Garner collects essays and articles she’s written over the course of her long career. Offering a broad vision of a life long lived, the book follows her own established tradition of “savage honesty,” as The New Yorker calls it. Garner’s sparing and unflinching prose can cut deep, impressing upon the reader the pain of the moment. Her ability to convey the truth as she lived it startles at times, but in the surprise lays the enjoyment of her writing.
“‘Honesty’ is a word that, when thrown at journalism, unhelpfully describes both a baseline and a vaguer horizon, a legal minimum and an ethical summum. Too often, we precisely monitor the former and profligately praise the latter. In Helen Garner’s case, we should give due thanks for the former and precisely praise the latter. As a writer of nonfiction, Garner is scrupulous, painstaking, and detailed, with sharp eyes and ears. She is everywhere at once, watching and listening, a recording angel at life’s secular apocalypses—“a small grim figure with a notebook and a cold,” as she memorably describes herself. She has written with lucid anger about murder cases, about incidents of sexual harassment, about the experience of caring for a friend dying of cancer.” –The New Yorker, December 12, 2016
Other praise for Everywhere I Look:
“Her unsentimental, but not heartless, accounts demonstrate her range and capacity for emotional accuracy in the face of difficulty. Garner uses her powers of observation to confront unpleasant truths. Her graceful prose will challenge readers to look at the world around them.” –Library Journal, October 17, 2016
“On the page, Garner is uncommonly fierce, though this usually has the effect on me of making her seem all the more likable. I relish her fractious, contrarian streak – she wears it as a chef would a bloody apron – even as I worry about what it would be like to have to face it down.” –The Guardian, October 11, 2016
“Garner can write about everything for every reader…Her tone throughout is one of considerable charm and approachability. Five minutes in Garner’s company, you feel, and you’d be telling her your deepest secrets.” –Civilian Global, October 3, 2016