Memoirist Louisa Deasey on Helen Garner's Monkey Grip

At Summer Stories, we've asked our favourite authors and changemakers for their best summer story. 

“I still remember the summer I found Monkey Grip by Helen Garner. The stream-of-consciousness style gave me a new concept of what literature was. I was living in the country with my mum, who'd been a sort of Nora-esque character herself complete with biking through the Edinburgh Gardens of Fitzroy. Certain lines in the novel have stayed with me such as: 'It was early summer. And everything, as it always does, began to heave and change.' Everyone's had that toxic love like Javo, right? Maybe I was coming out of a strange teenage relationship with a messed-up guy with lots of open wounds (OK, it was me with the wounds), but that book really spoke to me and stayed with me. It's a classic summer read! And really takes you to inner-city Melbourne as it used to be in the `70s, particularly Fitzroy. We used to swim at Fitzroy Pool with the words Aqua Profonda on the walls. They painted the signs in Italian as young Italian boys were drowning in the deep end.

Louisa Deasey is a Melbourne writer and author of A Letter From Paris, a true story of uncovering her late father's life in post-war France.

Monkey Grip by Helen Garner