I have just finished reading This House of Grief by Helen Garner because India Knight tweeted about it the other day and she is always right. ‘It is really, really upsetting and sometimes you have to just out it down and go for a walk. But it’s brilliant,’ said India on Twitter.
She was right again. The book is a true story about an Australian father whose three young sons died in 2005 when his car veered off the road and plunged into a dam. Thing is, was this just an accident as he claimed? Or was it revenge on his ex-wife for leaving him and finding another man? Could a man really be so eaten up with fury that he’d kill his own children to spite their mother? OR was it a desperate, bungled suicide attempt? Helen Garner, an Australia novelist, sat through two court trials to tell this story. I am AWFULLY thick about court dramas and tend to find even John Grisham books a bit ‘What the hell are those lawyers fighting over now?’ And yet I managed this because Helen is a clear writer and a sharp observer.
If you are shortly going on holiday to the South of France/Elton John’s yacht and are looking for something jaunty to read beside the pool with a
glass bottle of rosé, then this is probably not it. Equally, various parents in my office have said they’re not sure they could stomach it. But it was a case that gripped Australia and it is grimly fascinating…