The Spare Room

The Spare Room

Book rating: 05 Hardback

By (author) Helen Garner

List price $20.30

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  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 144mm x 224mm x 20mm | 339g
  • Publication date: 3 July 2008
  • Publication City/Country: Edinburgh
  • ISBN 10: 1847672655
  • ISBN 13: 9781847672650
  • Edition statement: Main
  • Illustrations note: n/a
  • Sales rank: 224,479

Product description

Helen has little idea what lies ahead when she offers her spare room to an old friend of fifteen years. Nicola has arrived in the city for treatment for cancer. Sceptical of the medical establishment, placing all her faith in an alternative health centre, Nicola is determined to find her own way to deal with her illness, regardless of the advice that Helen can offer. In the weeks that follow, Nicola's battle against her cancer will turn not only her own life upside down but also those of everyone around her. The Spare Room is a magical gem of a book that packs a huge punch, charting a friendship as it is tested by the threat of death.

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Author information

Born in 1942, Helen Garner lives in Australia. She has written both fiction and non-fiction, and also journalism, and her writing has been nominated for and won many awards. This is her first novel for fifteen years.

Customer reviews

By Jennifer Snell 27 Aug 2010 5

This is very well written and I have always found Garner's work of the highest quality. The prose is spare with never a wasted word but the author tends to give the impression that she has a rather bleak view of life. From the onset of this novel we know that Nola's situation fighting a terminal illness is one that offers little hope. However you would like that something positive might emerge for Helen apart from her obvious relief when Nola returned to Sydney. A worthwhile read on the topic of death and the care of the dying.

Review quote

'Garner is a storyteller, an observer...Her style is beautifully simple...People who are on a fixed diet of fiction or who graze on airport shelves could cleanse their palates with Garner as they might once have done with Jane Austen.' - Sydney Morning Herald