Books set in or written by Melbournians Part 1.

I know we mainly read/watch things that are made outside of Melbourne because it’s easier to do so. But, it’s alwasy great to experiences something that comes from our own backyard.
So, I’ve decided to write about a few books/movies that are either written by, or set, in Melbourne…


Monkey Grip was published in 1977 by Helen Garner, who grew up in Geelong and attended Melbourne University. It won the National Book Council Award in 1978, and was made into a movie in 1982.
I studied this baby at Uni a few years back. Its pretty much about Nora, a single mother who lives in Fitzroy, and her love for Jacko, a junkie who slips in and out of her life but loves the drug more than he will ever love her.
It’s true that Garner did pretty much publish her personal diaries, and a lot of other writers gave her crap for doing so.

It can be pretty tedious at times, but for anyone that has spent any time around Collingwood/Fitzroy/Carlton when they were grungy and not polluted by yuppies you’ll really enjoy Garner’s recollections of hanging out at the Fitzroy pool, eating Italian food on Lygon St, and feeling cut off when spending any time across the Yarra. (See how I tied that in with my other post? Aint’ I somethin’?)
It shows us a side of Fitzroy that mopst gen x/yers haven’t seen – sure, I remember it when not many people outside of Collingwood knew where Brunswick St was – but it shows the area when hippies made tie dye clothing, dyed their hair with Henna, Skyhooks played permanently on the stereo, (which, I did only a few years ago with my sister and her housemates…) and free love reigned.
Check this book out – and stick with it when it becomes tedious – it’ll be worth all the little glimpses of Melbourne that are so familiar.

1 Comment so far

  1. Susanne (unregistered) on July 28th, 2006 @ 1:56 am

    I love Monkey Grip when she talks of going down Lygon Street or wherever. I also love ‘On the Beach’ for its Melbourne settings too.

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