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How to End a Story


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About the Author

Helen Garner writes novels, stories, screenplays and works of non-fiction. In 2006 she received the inaugural Melbourne Prize for Literature, and in 2016 she won the prestigious Windham–Campbell Literature Prize for non-fiction and the Western Australian Premier’s Book Award. In 2019 she was honoured with the Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature. Her books include Monkey Grip, The Children’s Bach, Cosmo Cosmolino, The Spare Room, The First Stone, This House of Grief, Everywhere I Look, Yellow Notebook and One Day I’ll Remember This.


'The ordinary in these diaries—the daily, the diurnal, the stumbled-upon, the breathing in and out—is turned into something else through the writer’s extraordinary craft.'

‘Helen Garner is one of the lords of language in our midst and something more. She has a poet’s ear, a painter’s eye and she understands profoundly and without self-pity the mystery of the tears in things.’

‘The spirituality of these diaries is worth a library of high-minded theology…Their acuity is ultimately healing. You will leave with the impression that you have not so much been looking at Garner’s life as at life itself.’

'Candid and flawless, as we’ve come to expect from Garner.’
*Nicole Abadee, Good Weekend*

‘A tremendous feat [with] a bloodcurdling credibility…How to End a Story is further evidence that Garner is a diarist of genius and the intimacies and intensities will long outlast the sorrows that engendered them. It is a book of wisdom in the face of every folly.’
*Peter Craven, Age*

‘The true gratifications of How to End a Story exist in a woman’s slow, tentative unfurling in the wake of a relationship’s collapse.’
*Geordie Williamson, Saturday Paper*

‘A devastating yet enlightening look in to the private thoughts and feelings of an incredible woman. It is a privilege to read.’

‘Compellingly propulsive…While this volume is rich in small human moments and intimate reflections on being a writer…the central drama gives How to End a Story the quality of a novel.’


‘As propulsive as the most addictive page-turner and as exquisitely rendered as [Garner’s] novels and short stories…Garner's diaries are expertly paced and arranged, as much outward-looking as inward, and as attuned to the quotidian as to the profound.’
*Zora Simic, Inside Story*

'Garner is often lauded for her unflinching gaze and unsparing prose. But in this latest volume of her diaries her command of concealment is a masterclass.’
*Fiona Murphy, Kill Your Darlings*

'A shockingly relatable account of a woman trying to chip out a space to live and work…No-one today would question Garner’s significance, her intellectual heft, her bankability or her right to the prodigious space she occupies in Australian letters…A monumental achievement.’
*Annabel Crabb, Harper’s Bazaar*

‘How to End a Story is a plunge into the abyss as the artist and the woman desperately tries to keep her marriage, her sanity and her artistic vision alive…Few Australian writers are as cherished as Helen Garner.’
*Canberra Times*

‘The most formidable book of excerpts from [Garner’s] diaries so far, a devastating portrait of the breakdown of a marriage and not least of the narrator: a staggering achievement.’
*Peter Craven, ABR Books of the Year 2021*

'An inspiring and thought-provoking collection that runs the gamut of human emotion.’
*Happy Mag*

‘Garner’s passion, clarity, forensic observation and humour are well in evidence.’
*SA Weekend*

‘The first two volumes of Garner’s diaries offer, as one of their chief pleasures, the feeling of time as it passes. They are full of small occasions, glancing insights, a slowly accumulating drift of actions and consequences. This one is different. This one is as compelling as a detective story. This one is edited with the sense of an ending….At times, reading this diary, you feel like a spy. At times you feel like a friend. At times you feel like a judge.’
*Lisa Gorton, ABR*

‘Garner articulates the complex, gritty and mind-bending rollercoaster of suspecting she is being betrayed, while railing to keep up the façade in her regular life. The universality of this struggle makes her latest work yet another page-turner.’
*Law Society Journal*

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