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Monkey Grip

Helen Garner

Regular price $37.99

The novel that launched the career of one of Australia’s greatest writers, following the doomed infatuations of a young, single mother, enthralled by the excesses of Melbourne's late-70s counterculture

The name Helen Garner commands near-universal acclaim. A master novelist, short-story writer, and journalist, Garner is best known for her frank, unsparing, and intricate portraits of Australian life, often drawn from the pages of her own journals and diaries. Now, in a newly available US edition, comes the disruptive debut that established Garner's masterful and quietly radical literary voice.

Set in Australia in the late 1970s, Monkey Grip follows single mother and writer Nora as she navigates the tumultuous cityscape of Melbourne’s bohemian underground, often with her young daughter Gracie in tow. When Nora falls in love with the flighty Javo, she becomes snared in the web of his addiction. And as their tenuous relationship disintegrates, Nora struggles to wean herself off a love that feels impossible to live without.

When it first published in 1977, Monkey Grip was both a sensation and a lightning rod. While some critics praised the upstart Garner for her craft, many scorned her gritty depictions of the human body and all its muck, her frankness about sex and drugs and the mess of motherhood, and her unabashed use of her own life as inspiration. Today, such criticism feels old-fashioned and glaringly gendered, and Monkey Grip is considered a modern masterpiece.

A seminal novel of Australia’s turbulent 1970s and all it entailed—communal households, music, friendships, children, love, drugs, and sex—Monkey Grip now makes its long-overdue American debut.

Hardcover | 352 pages | 6.34" x 9.54"