is a book about life and death, and about how the two are intricately
intertwined. It is a book about friendship and love, frustration and
anger and the
the necessity of
being able to
‘I’ of the book, Helen, is
in her mid-sixties and lives
in Melbourne. A friend, Nicole, who
is a stage-four cancer patient, moves in with Helen for three weeks
while she is undergoing alternative cancer treatment. Initially,
Helen is happy to be able to help her friend, but this emotion
becomes jaded as she realizes that the treatment is bogus, that
Nicole is refusing to accept the
ineptness of the alternative therapies and her own mortality, and
that the three-week stay is likely to be extended. Indefinitely.
is torn between love for her friend and frustration at having to be
complicit in Nicole’s construction
of positive outcomes and happy endings.
the situation reaches a crisis point.
her two main characters, Helen Garner presents the important ideas of
life, death and friendship. She lays
out the facts and lets the reader make his/her own decisions. It is a
beautifully written book, and one that I definitely recommend to