The Spare Room
8 journalers for this copy...
Helen lovingly prepares her spare room for her friend Nicola. She is coming to visit for three weeks, to receive treatment she believes will cure her cancer. From the moment Nicola staggers off the plane, gaunt and hoarse but still somehow grand, Helen becomes her nurse, her guardian angel and her stony judge.
The Spare Room tells a story of compassion, humour and rage. The two women - one sceptical, one stubbornly serene - negotiate an unmapped path through Nicola's bizarre therapy, stumbling towards the novel's terrible and transcendent finale.
This is a powerful, moving and at times unexpectedly funny novel about two women and their friendship challenged by illness and the threat of death. 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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Posted to crimson-tide today, 3/6/8.
Returned to base, 9/12/8.
The writing is tight, but still allows all the rage helplessness and frustration to burst out; as well as the compassion and love to shine through. The conflict between all these polarising emotions and the resultant 'guilt trip' would have exhausted anyone.
It's a very brave book in my opinion. A book that needed to be written (for a number of differing reasons) and a book that needs to be read.
Both members of the household have read it now, and it's off to briz-cowgirl tomorrow.
I have finished The Spare Room, will report back once my addled thoughts are together about it.
PM'ed fairy-whispers for her address and will be posting to her shortly.
Thanks catsalive for this bookring.
ADDIT 7/7/08: I really enjoyed this book, but I couldn't help feeling somewhat cheated at the end, it seemed to finish so abruptly. Lovely writing by Helen Garner. A most thought-provoking story.
Mailed to fairy-whispers today.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
Am about a chapter and a half away from finishing The Bourne Identity (what a ride!) and will be on to this immediately after.
Beautifully written, with some really wonderful prose and some unforgettable moments. I also happen to be in love with Melbourne, so reading the detail of the day to day movements around the city was a little thrill.
The love and anger in this novel were palpable. I don't think that a novel written for anyone other than one amazing woman from another could have been as honest. I think that had it been about anyone else, even a spouse or a child, Helen would not have felt that same depth of anger at the situation she found herself in.
I was particularly touched by the descriptions of the small gestures Helen made to make Nicola welcome and comfortable - a flower by the bed, the colour of the sheets.
I am almost certain the the beautifully descriptive and detailed prose, and the subject matter, will inspire someone to try to make this into a film, but I hope with all my heart that they just leave it to be a glorious novel that seems to be truly Australian in every way.
Sent on it's way to leeny37.
Congratulations, by the way ;).
PS. Does anyone else think that Verity sounded like a real snooty bitch?!
Turns out I'm the last person after all, so I'm sending this back to catsalive. Once again, thanks for sharing!
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
Sent to lmn60, Southern Crosser December 2009.
Thanks so much!
And just made release notes when I hadn't journalled - bad bookcrosser! In brief - loved it - want to share it!
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
To the finder of this book:
Hello and congratulations! You have not only found yourself a good book, but a whole community of booklovers dedicated to sharing books with each other and the world at large. I hope you'll stick around a bit and get to know BookCrossing --maybe even make a journal entry on this book. You may choose to remain anonymous or to join (its free!) And if you do choose to join, I hope you'll consider using me, lmn60, as your referring member. Feel free to read and keep this book, or to pass it on to a friend or even set it out "in the wild" for someone else to find like you did. If you do choose to join and journal, then you can watch the book as it travels- You'll be alerted by email each time someone makes another journal entry. It's all confidential (you're known only by your screen name and no one is ever given your e-mail address), free, and spam-free. Happy reading!
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
I understand Helen’s anger with Nicola who is in denial about her cancer and her death. I can also understand Nicola wanting to try anything to keep on living. Despite the difficult subject matter of the book, it was a quick and easy read. I will leave it here in Cambodia for another reader to enjoy.