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Summary

Inner-suburban Melbourne in the 1970s: a world of communal living, drugs, music and love - Garner captures the fluid relationships of a community of friends.  

Helen Garner’s gritty, lyrical first novel divided the critics on its publication in 1977. Today, Monkey Grip is regarded as a masterpiece - the novel that shines a light on a time and a place and a way of living never before presented in Australian literature: communal households, music, friendships, children, love, drugs and sex.  

When Nora falls in love with Javo, she is caught in the web of his addiction; and as he moves between loving her and leaving, between his need for her and promises broken, Nora’s life becomes an intense dance of loving and trying to let go.

©1977 Helen Garner. Introduction copyright Charlotte Wood 2018 (P)2020 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic reviews

"This is the power of Garner’s writing. She drills into experience and comes up with such clean, precise distillations of life..." (The Australian)

"Her use of language is sublime." (Scotsman

What listeners say about Monkey Grip

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Best author narration I’ve heard

The author reads the book herself. This does not always work out in many cases, but this was a fantastic performance. The book is great too. Highly recommended

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Adds so much…

… to have this read in Helen Garner’s voice.

I understand why it’s a classic now