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December 31 , 2007

The Feel of Steel


"Although I have been married three times, I have never been a bride. What – me, in a big white dress? In a veil? The closest I ever got to the fantasy was back in the eighties, when I used to admire the white gypsophila crowns that Susan Renouf wore to parties: I drew a curious satisfaction from their ethereal, circular, brow-pressing beauty. Twenty years later all that's left is the frisson I get from the coronet shape that salad leaves briefly take when I tip them out of the whizzer on to a tea towel."

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Cities, friends, lost loves, Antarctica, the joy of being a grandmother, weddings, fencing... Such is the array of subjects in Helen Garner's second non-fiction collection. Some pieces were published in The Age, some are previously unpublished, but woven together they present as an evocative memoir, and offer a wonderfully personal portrait of an always unconventional talent.

In word-perfect and often hilarious prose, Helen Garner reminds us of the human condition, in all its various guises.

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