Synopsis:Helen lovingly prepares her spare room for her friend Nicola. She is coming to visit for three weeks, to receive treatment she believes will cure her cancer. From the moment Nicola staggers off the plane, gaunt and hoarse but still somehow grand, Helen becomes her nurse, her guardian angel and her stony judge.
The Spare Room tells a story of compassion, humour and rage. The two women – one sceptical, one stubbornly serene – negotiate an unmapped path through Nicola’s bizarre therapy, stumbling towards the novel’s terrible and transcendent finale.
Comments:Easy to read and full of emotion, The Spare Room deals with the issues of death and friendship in a compassionate but realistic manner. The kaleidoscope of emotions one deals with when caring for and supporting a dying loved one can often be unexpected and draining, especially if that loved one has yet to accept their death. So often books romanticise or idealise terminal illness, but death and dying are seldom so pretty. The Spare Room is rollercoaster of emotion but, ultimately, paints are far more realistic (and therefore more helpful) picture of the journey that is dying.
- ‘Monkey Grip’ by Helen Garner (kimbofo.typepad.com)