Ian Nowak, August 2015

Helen Garner’s edited address to the Sydney Writers’ Festival (July) was everything I have come to hope for, and perhaps even to expect, from her. I particularly admire her unusual yet rigorously compassionate approach in Joe Cinque’s Consolation, This House of Grief and The First Stone. The first and certainly the last have brought me into quite some conflict with several of my more ideological feminist friends.

What a comfort it was to read that Garner would not have been interested in Robert Farquharson had he been merely a monster, that she realises “no matter what the political rhetoric is” a woman should not assume that because she should be safe in public places that she will be, and that, indeed, there are “dull men whose hearts are broken by rejection”, who cannot articulate their pain and are therefore dangerous. A brave woman indeed.

I am fortunate in having a close and happy family life, but I am cursed by an imagination that forces me to examine all sides of most issues.

I feel a whole new round of conflict coming on!

Ian Nowak
Subiaco, WA