The First Stone: Some Questions of Sex and Power by Helen Garner


Summary from Goodreads:

In the autumn of 1992, two young women students at Melbourne University went to the police claiming that they had been indecently assaulted at a party. The man they accused was the head of their co-ed residential college. The shock of these charges split the community and painfully focused the debate about sex and power.

Another cultural theory dud for me! Recommended by the same friend who recommended the Solnit (starting to think I should stop trusting the guy) and it hit all the wrong buttons. I love love love Garner’s writing style – she’s incredibly easy to read. Even when she’s writing about really difficult, personal topics Garner’s writing is incredibly engaging.

Buuuuuuuuut, this one might have turned me off Garner forever. She’s of an old school type of feminism that is incredibly critical of the political correctness that characterises “a certain kind of modern feminism: priggish, disingenuous, unforgiving” (page 93). She has a sort of “boys will be boys” mentality when it comes to sexual harassment and has very little sympathy for the women involved. She even mentions what they were wearing at the time of the incident. Ouch.

Any readers out there with more experience with Garner? Should I try again?


3 thoughts on “The First Stone: Some Questions of Sex and Power by Helen Garner

  1. I tried reading Monkey Grip by Helen Garner recently, but couldn’t continue, one of the main characters was a drug addict and to me the plot was like trying to make sense of a disjointed conversation with a drug addict, it wandered all over the place. Based on that and your review, I won’t be trying The First Stone.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s