The Spare Room

Helen Garner

The Spare Room
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The Spare Room

Helen Garner

An extraordinary work of fiction from one of Australia’s best-selling and most admired writers First, in my spare room, I swivelled the bed on to a north-south axis. Isn’t that supposed to align the sleeper with the planet’s positive energy flow, or something? She would think so. I made it up nicely with a fresh fitted sheet, the pale pink one, since she had a famous feel for colour, and pink is flattering even to skin that has turned yellowish. Helen prepares her spare room for her friend Nicola, who is flying down from Sydney for a three-week visit. But this is no ordinary visit - Nicola has advanced cancer. She is coming to Melbourne to receive treatment she believes will cure her. From the moment Nicola steps off the plane, Helen becomes her nurse, her protector, her guardian angel and her stony judge. The Spare Room tells a story of compassion and rage as the two women - one sceptical, one stubbornly serene - negotiate their way through Nicola’s gruelling treatments. Garner’s dialogue is pitch perfect, her sense of pacing flawless as this novel draws to its terrible and transcendent finale.

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