"'Smack habit, love habit - what's the difference? They both can kill you.' Nora's addiction is romantic love; Javo's is hard drugs. Nora, 'a fast faker...neat sharp and steady', and Javo, her violently blue-eyed lover, are trapped in a desperate relationship. The harder they pull away, the tighter the monkey grip."
"Elegant and wry" - New Yorker
"Monkey Grip brings home the fact that there are an overwhelming number of alternatives open to us all in today's world, and that these do not necessarily make life easier or more satisfying. But one makes of it what one can." - Sydney Morning Herald
"It's a well-written book, tense and wry and funny, with places and moods conveyed with low-key lyricism." - Cleo
"One has to confess it's the sort of book you can't put down" - Melbourne Herald
In the old brown house on the corner, a mile from the middle of the city, we ate bacon for breakfast every morning of our lives. There were never enough chairs for us all to sit up at the meal table; one or two of us always sat on the floor or on the kitchen step, plate on knee. It never occurred to us to teach the children to eat with a knife and fork. It was hunger and all sheer function: the noise, and clashing of plates, and people chewing with their mouths open, and talking and laughing. Oh I was happy then. At night our back yard smelt like the country.
It was early summer.
And everything, as it always does, began to heave and change.
From the Penguin paperback edition, 1983.
This novel was adapted for the screen in 1982 from a screen play Helen Garner and Ken Cameron, directed by Ken Cameron and featured Noni Hazlehurst, Colin Friels and Harold Hopkins.
This page and its contents are copyright © 2002 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.Return to Helen Garner page.
Last modified: May 1, 2002.