Author: Helen Garner
Published: 2014 by The Text Publishing Company
Read: March 2015
Why it made it to the top of the pile: I purchased this book at the 2015 Newcastle Writers Festival, where I attended a talk Helen gave about writing this novel. This was one of about 6 books I purchased in the festival bookshop, but there was no contest regarding which book to read first.
Categories: Non-fiction, Crime, Australian Authors
Full Disclosure: Purchased
Trivia Tidbit: Helen Garner was threatened with contempt of court by the defence lawyer during proceedings covered in the book.
I remember when this incident was reported, and remember hoping this was an accident while acknowledging the possibility that it was not. In the first few pages, Helen Garner relates having similar thoughts, She covers the trial, as impartial an observer as she can manage, but shares her thoughts, doubts, hope and despair with the reader as the trial and subsequent appeal progresses. We are privy to more information than the jury, and this is a blessing and a curse. While struggling to understand the possible motives of a man to direct his car into a deep, icy dam we are also faced with the rules of law and the human errors in investigation that follow each potential crime. At the heart of the book is a deep, deep sadness at the fate of the Jai, Tyler and Bailey. Helen Garner captures this so beautifully that I held onto this image while reading the story of the trial:
The only way I could bear it was to picture the boys as water creatures: three silvery, naked little sprites, muscular as fish, who slivered through a crack in the car's rear window and, with a flip of their sinuous feet, sped away together into their new element (p.49)