The Spare Room, by Helen Garner
ISBN: 978-0-88784-838-4 * $18.95
Lisa Moore, author of February
Helen Garner’s Spare Room is spare. Spare and lush at the same time, so quick and fine it cuts to the bone. Garner’s novel is a transparent and moving account of a friendship between two women. It is the story of getting old, being beautiful, loving deeply, living a life of uncompromised, costly independence, then becoming dependent. It is a story that cracks open with need and illness and willful blindness and finally, acceptance and bravery. There is uncontainable rage against the things that can’t be changed. And it is a novel about grace. The Spare Room shows how to approach death with dignity and every sentence Garner fashions is full of that elegance and sadness. But friendship is the thing here, and it is the narrative engine — not sweet, not easy, not romantic — but messy and so full of meaning and insight it carries the reader, breaks her heart and mends it, sentence by sentence.
LISA MOORE is the acclaimed author of the novel Alligator, which was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, won the Commonwealth Fiction Prize (Canada and the Caribbean), and was a national bestseller. Her story collection Open was also shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and became a bestseller. Her second novel, February, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and shortlisted for the Commonwealth Fiction Prize (Canada and the Caribbean). Lisa Moore lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.