On the evening of 4 September 2005, Robert Farquharson, a separated husband, was driving his three sons home to their mother when his car plunged into a dam. The boys, aged ten, seven, and two, drowned. Was this an act of deliberate revenge or a tragic accident? The court case became Helen Garner's obsession. She was in the courtroom every day of Farquharson's trial and subsequent retrial, along with countless journalists and the families of both the accused and his former wife.
In this utterly compelling book, Helen Garner tells the story of a man and his broken life. At its core is a search for truth that takes author and reader through complex psychological terrain. Garner exposes, with great compassion, that truth and justice are as complex as human frailty and morality.
Part of a nonfiction tradition that began with Truman Capote's In Cold Blood and continues in the works of Janet Malcolm, Erroll Morris, and others.
Praise for Helen Garner's The Spare Room
"Helen Garner is a great writer."--Peter Carey
"Swift, beautiful, and relentless."--Alice Sebold
"The Joan Didion of Australia"--Los Angeles Times
Helen Garner, born in 1942, is the author of numerous books of fiction and nonfiction. Her most recent novel The Spare Room was published to critical acclaim in 2010.
- ISBN-13: 9781922079206
- ISBN-10: 1922079200
- Publisher: Text Pub Co
- Publish Date: April 2015
- Page Count: 300
- Dimensions: 1 x 6.25 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.94 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-02-23
- Reviewer: Staff
In this emotionally overwrought and dramatic account, Australian author Garner (The Spare Room) recounts her time following the trial of Robert Farquharson, a single father accused of killing his three sons by driving off the road and into a dam on Sept. 4, 2005 (Father’s Day in Australia). As Farquharson stands by his innocence, claiming a blackout due to a rare coughing condition, the state mounts a damning case against him, leading to an initial guilty verdict and a subsequent retrial. Garner is there for every step, coloring the proceedings with her own opinions and experiences. But it’s never entirely clear why Garner is so obsessed with this case, and why she feels the need to filter the information through her perceptions. “When I said I wanted to write about the trial, people looked at me in silence, with an expression I could not read,” she states. Upon visiting the graves of the dead children, “Often, in the seven years to come, I would regret that I had not simply blessed them that day and walked away.” Though the information is solid, and Garner provides a strong picture of the trial and murder case, the impact is lessened by her own internal musings. (Apr.)