Helen Garner’s Monkey Grip: The Construction of an Author and Her Work


The gloves are off, it might seem, when a male critic declares that the latest prize-winning woman author 'talks dirty and passes it off as realism', or when the Adelaide Writers Festival is told by a guest male writer that this particular woman's 'territory' is 'domestic pain' and therefore only of interest to other women. Yet despite such resistance (or propaganda), along with similar efforts from others, Helen Garner has become one of Australia's celebrated writers, apparently destined for a permanent place in Australia's literary history. And along with Garner goes Monkey Grip. Her first novel grows in stature beside her. This is a curious process because the novel was not obviously a classic, not obviously literature, and not even obviously a novel for many of its early readers and reviewers.

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Published 1 October 1992 in Volume 15 No. 4. Subjects: Australian novels & novelists, Autobiographies, Book reviewing, Critical reception, Helen Garner.

Cite as: Brophy, Kevin. ‘Helen Garner’s Monkey Grip: The Construction of an Author and Her Work.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 15, no. 4, 1992, doi: 10.20314/als.fca3ca5d39.