The Spare Room

Overview

A powerful, witty, and taut novel about a complex friendship between two women—one dying, the other called to care for her—from an internationally acclaimed and award-winning author

How much of ourselves must we give up to help a friend in need? Helen has little idea what lies ahead—and what strength she must muster—when she offers her spare room to an old friend, Nicola, who has arrived in the city for cancer treatment. Skeptical of the medical establishment, and placing all ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (39) from $1.99   
  • New (1) from $10.95   
  • Used (38) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$10.95
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(18068)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
Brand New, Perfect Condition, Please allow 4-14 business days for delivery. 100% Money Back Guarantee, Over 1,000,000 customers served.

Ships from: Westminster, MD

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

A powerful, witty, and taut novel about a complex friendship between two women—one dying, the other called to care for her—from an internationally acclaimed and award-winning author

How much of ourselves must we give up to help a friend in need? Helen has little idea what lies ahead—and what strength she must muster—when she offers her spare room to an old friend, Nicola, who has arrived in the city for cancer treatment. Skeptical of the medical establishment, and placing all her faith in an alternative health center, Nicola is determined to find her own way to deal with her illness, regardless of the advice Helen offers.

In the weeks that follow, Nicola’s battle for survival will turn not only her own life upside down but also those of everyone around her. The Spare Room is a magical gem of a book—gripping, moving, and unexpectedly funny—that packs a huge punch, charting a friendship as it is tested by the threat of death.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
It may be a privilege to prepare the place where a guest will sleep, but what about when that privilege involves offering up a spare room to a dying friend? Helen has little idea of the consequences her singular act of generosity will set in motion when she invites her old friend Nicola to stay while she undergoes treatment for cancer. Still wonderfully bohemian at age 65, Nicola distrusts conventional medicine and is set on an alternative course of treatment that Helen immediately recognizes as a fraud. But Nicola is determined to find her own way on this journey, and Helen can only bite her tongue and watch helplessly.

Charting territory -- in friendship and in life -- that is both heartbreaking and bittersweet, Garner has fashioned a novel that's powerful, moving, sharply funny, and rich with lived experience. What are the limits of friendship? How much should one presume? Who will care for members of a generation who haven't planned for the inevitable? With clarity and grace, Garner tackles the thorny and delicate issues involved in helping a friend in need. Though we can't rightly call Garner a "new" writer, she is truly great; this little gem of a novel is proof positive. (Spring 2009 Selection)
Liesl Schillinger
The Spare Room reads like an unsparing memoir in which flashes of dark humor and simple happiness (a magic show, a grandchild's flamenco dance, a shared joke) lighten the grim record of an overwhelmingly difficult chapter in a woman's life, a chapter whose meaning she still struggles to decipher years on, whose sharper entries still stab her conscience, but can't be erased by time.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Garner (Monkey Grip) employs her signature realism in this stunted novel about the infuriating and eye-opening experience of caring for a terminally ill loved one. Helen prepares a room in her Melbourne home for Nicola, an old friend who travels from Sydney to begin a course of alternative treatment for bowel cancer. The central conflict of the story centers around these treatments: Helen fears they may be doing more harm than good, while Nicola has undying faith in the unorthodox practices of the Theodore Institute (these revolve around vitamin C injections), leading Helen to question her ability to care for someone so deep in denial. Garner paints Nicola's unflinching optimism with a heavy hand, and her grand naïveté is unconvincing, a flaw that's hard to overlook in a novel about a cancer patient. As it wears on, the narrative becomes clouded by litanies of worsening symptoms and platitudes about death, and Helen's bickering about the treatment-while valid-become grating and tiresome. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Nicola's stage-four cancer takes her from Sydney to Melbourne, Australia, for alternative therapies and a brief stay in friend Helen's spare room. Two women who have known each other for 15 years, spending three weeks together with the weight of one crushing disease: How do we calculate what's important in our lives? Garner (Cosmo Cosmolino) offers up her own equation as these two sexagenarians nearly come to blows when mortality is the bottom line. Nicola puts up with cupping (per Helen, "the more benevolent bullshit") and incapacitating vitamin C drips because she wants to believe they will save her. Helen, who thinks the Theodore Institute reeks of quackery, wonders if the torture of the treatments is worth the cost in terms of Nicola's dignity and time with family and friends. As Helen says, "Death will not be denied. To try is grandiose." Garner's neat prose suits these two crusty dames, who drag themselves through a situation where, ultimately, love is all that counts. Highly recommended for public libraries.
—Bette-Lee Fox

Kirkus Reviews
In a short, wise, oddly uplifting novel by Australian writer Garner, an old friend dying of cancer makes a memorable final visit. Garner (The First Stone, 1997, etc.) tackles big themes-truth, death, the limits of friendship-with ease. Nicola and Helen are "old bohemians" whose bond reaches back a decade and a half. Sydney-based, wealthy Nicola is quirky and imperious (she has no use for deodorant, suitcases or underwear), whereas Melbourne-based Helen is more grounded, with family living next door. When Nicola arrives, her cancer is already far advanced: She has had surgery and radiation and is at stage four, the final stage, but the point of her visit is to try another, expensive alternative therapy. Helen, a tireless host, soon finds herself angry, partly because death has arrived in her house, partly because Nicola refuses stronger painkillers, but mainly because her friend stubbornly insists the treatment can cure her. Helen vents some of her mounting rage on the institution treating Nicola, taking her money while aware that her case is terminal. But eventually she confronts Nicola for using the treatments to distract herself from preparing for the end. When an oncologist advises a spinal operation, to be performed locally, which would mean Nicola's stay would be extended, Helen snaps. She can tend her friend no longer. What ensues is described briefly but with enormous love, despite Nicola's unchanging expectations. Wit, simplicity and scorching honesty distinguish an understated triumph. Agent: Kim Witherspoon, David Forrer/Inkwell Management
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847672674
  • Publisher: Canongate Books
  • Publication date: 7/5/2009
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.08 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Helen Garner was born in Geelong, Australia, in 1942. Her award-winning books include novels, stories, screenplays, and works of nonfiction, including Monkey Grip, The First Stone, and Joe Cinque’s Consolation. The Spare Room is her first work of fiction in fifteen years. She lives in Australia.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)