Non-fiction book of the month: This House of Grief by Helen Garner

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This giveaway is sponsored by Text Publishing

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.

On the evening of 4 September 2005, Father’s Day, Robert Farquharson, a separated husband, was driving his three sons home to their mother, Cindy, when his car left the road and plunged into a dam. The boys, aged ten, seven and two, drowned. Was this an act of revenge or a tragic accident? The court case that followed became Helen Garner’s obsession. She followed it on its protracted course until the final verdict.

In this utterly compelling book, Helen Garner tells the story of a man and his broken life. She presents the theatre of the courtroom with its actors and audience, all gathered to bear witness to the truth - players in the unpredictable drama of the quest for justice.

This House of Grief is a heartbreaking and compassionate book by one of Australia’s most admired writers.

Read an extract

Praise for This House of Grief

‘Imbued with all Garner’s usual clear-eyed grace but with some other magnificent dimension that hides between the lines of her simple conversational voice.’ - Peter Carey


‘This is Garner at her best. A must-read. The hard-won simplicity of the language is brilliant, not a word wasted.… compellingly honest and utterly authentic.’ - Alex Miller


'Helen Garner’s This House of Grief is a gripping account of a murder trial in which few of the participants act and react in ways we might predict. It’s an examination not just of what happened, but also of what we prefer to believe and what we cannot face believing.' 

Julian Barnes, TLS


'In This House of Grief, Helen Garner describes with wonderful subtlety and honesty the trail of a man accused of drowning his three sons; she is fascinated by what we’re capable of and how fiercely we hide it from ourselves.' - Helen Simpson, TLS

About the Author

Helen Garner was born in 1942 in Geelong, and was educated there and at Melbourne University. Her first novel, Monkey Grip, won the 1978 National Book Council Award, and was adapted for film in 1981. Since then she has published novels, short stories, essays, and feature journalism, including The First Stone, Joe Cinque’s Consolation and The Spare Room which won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction, the Queensland Premier’s Award for Fiction and the Barbara Jefferis Award, and has been translated into many languages. Helen Garner lives in Melbourne. 

Book giveaway and Q&A with Helen

Text Publishing is giving away 50 free copies of This House of Grief. Apply below for a chance to win, and head over to the discussion thread to ask Helen all your questions about herself and the book by 29 April. We'll post answers to 15 of the best questions in early May.

You don't have to win a free copy to take part in the discussion or ask Helen a question. Everyone is welcome to come and discuss the book. If you miss out on a free copy you can buy the book here. To coincide with it as our non-fiction book of the month, Text Publishing has made This House of Grief £4.99 across all key e-retailers (Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google) from 21 March to 21 April!

This giveaway closes Tuesday 29 March , so apply now!


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