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This House of Grief

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Member Reviews

I had not heard of this case before. This book was interesting and well written. I found myself looking forward to reading more of it every night.

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A whirlwind of emotions, Garner takes us into the depths of what it is to be human, to be a parent, and to be drowning in varied grievances. A legal drama but so very much more than that. Broken families, broken systems, and broken people all pushed to the brink and suffering tumultuous tragedies. As the court room drama unfolds and the story swiftly progresses, changing dynamics, twisting and turning, the reader can't help but to try to stay afloat. A loving, doting father grieving the loss of his marriage and children, is that the true narrative? Or did pain and anger push a hurting dad to the brink, did he want to hurt his ex so much he took the very things she loved away? Where does the truth lie? Is it drowning too, stuck in the depths where the light doesn't reach?

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I DNF'ed at 25%. It started to get so repetitive and drawn out that even the tragic story itself couldn't keep me focused.

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This one is heartbreaking. In the event that you’re not familiar with the case, much like I was not, I won’t give any details away. I am trying to read more true crime this year and this was well written and definitely made me want to read more. It feels sad rating a tragic and heartbreaking incident, but the rating is based on the authors ability to tell the story without bias and while not emotional, not emotionless either. Thanks to Penguin Randomhouse for sending a review copy my way. This House of Grief is available now.

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Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for gifting me an advanced reader copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review and opinion.

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Ver intriguing, well written, detailed characters. I was drawn in from the beginning; would recommend to others.

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What a fantastic but haunting book, I’m an avid reader of true crime so this had me hooked.

It was so sad to read but absolutely gripping, it would make a good tv documentary .

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"This House of Grief" is a written account of a true crime. On 4th September, 2015, as Robert Farquharson, a divorced father of three boys, was taking the children back to their mother after a Father's Day visit, his car veered off the road and plunged into a dam. The three kids died, while their father survived. He was accused of murdering the children. Robert claimed to have blacked out from a coughing fit at the wheel--a cough syncope, a super rare phenomenon--causing the car to go into the water. We got to follow Garner into the courtroom, observe the trial through her eyes, and listen to her thoughts and feelings.

I found the case very intriguing, but this ebook version of mine has pretty poor formatting and editing which's rather a turn-off. Anyway, thank you to NetGalley and Penguin for an ARC of this book.

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My thanks to NetGalley and Penguin/Random House for an advanced copy of this book. My opinions are my own. This book caught my attention because it was so closely like a case in Upstate South Carolina in the 1990’s that I knew about from living in there.
Helen Garner is a recognized Australian journalist who wrote of her observations of a trial for a father whose 3 young sons died in a horrible accident. Robert Farquharson was taking his sons back to his estranged wife after a Father’s Day outing with them. He lost control of the car and crashed into a dam. Although Robert escaped, his sons did not. This House of Grief details the two trials that followed.
Garner observes the trial, the families, the lawyers and judges, the witnesses, everyone in the courtrooms as she details this sad story. She develops a relationship with some of the relatives. She talks to people in the local coffee shops and bars. Her highly developed observational skills make this book interesting; her writing skills make it very readable.
I enjoyed this book. 4 stars

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Wow. This book held back no punches. This House of Grief is a true crime story of the case of Robert Farquharson, who claims to have blacked out during a coughing fit and his car with himself and three children went into the water and he was the only one to walk away.. The court case that followed the questionable accident and the evidence given was great.

This book could have been slightly shorter I did find somethings repetitive but with that said it was a Birds Eye view of the court case so there probably was a lot of repetitiveness. The story itself was difficult at times but it was interesting going along with the court procedures.

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The House of Grief is a nonfiction true crime book about the case of Robert Farquharson, who drove his car into a pond in Winchelsea (Australia) with his three children in it. He escaped while his children perished. Garner was interested in the case and diligently follows the seven week trial that occurred in 2005, including the appeal and the ultimate decision.

Farquharson claims he blacked out from a coughing fit at the wheel causing his car to go into the water. Garner deftly weaves courtroom drama, including witness accounts and testimony with the events of the night of the accident, all in great detail. She paints a portrait of a man in deep despair, having recently separated from his wife and now the reason for the loss of their children. This is in contrast to the prosecution’s portrayal of Farquharson as an angry, vengeful man, out to inflict the worst pain imaginable on his wife.

This was obviously a difficult read due to the nature of the crime, but I was captivated. I appreciated Garner’s sensitive analyses and attempt to have an honest and unbiased look into the case.

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Garner gives us a bird’s eye view into a horrific crime committed in Australia in 2005. Writing a true account of the trial and its outcome for Robert Farquharson, a father accused of drowning his three sons by veering off the road and plunging into a dam. While he claims he’s innocent and completely heart broken, his actions say something completely different. Could he possibly have done it on purpose? Not necessarily the most enjoyable read due to subject matter, but definitely one true crime buffs will like to contemplate. Thank you to Pantheon and NetGalley for an ARC of this book.

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I'm a true crime avid reader but struggling to finish this book. Some parts of it are repetitive, badly written and difficult to read. Not recommended.

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There is quite an industry for courtroom thrillers and dramas.

This one however is one with a difference - it is based on a real-life Courtroom drama. Australian divorcé Robert Farquharson claimed to have a blackout after a coughing fit whilst driving - and his car fell down a steep incline into the water, killing his free sons. From his former marriage. Yet he survived.

The journalist writer does stress at the very beginning that there is always an element of subjectiveness wherever an assessment has to be made: innocent or guilty, alongside the responsibility imposed on the juries to get it right. Most murderers plead innocent, or may be in denial about what they did! Meanwhile the job of the defense is to pick holes in the evidence in such a way that itay seem almost impossible to decide which version of events is a true one. Luckily in Australia there is currently no death penalty.

This is more a character study of all the players on the case, and cut-and-dried conclusions play no part in what this book has to offer. This is not a thriller either, and the nit-picking of the possible logistics can make this read pretty tedious and heavy-going at times.

Just like real life. Recently, a high-profile court case in the British system was just like this, making it frustratingly very difficult to decide if in fact the défendent had donr it at all. Again, no easy answers.

No doubt, one for real lawyers, and armchair lawyers, this one

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This house of grief was truly fascinating! It was a long read for me because although fascinating it wasn’t revelatory n any way if you were familiar with the case (which I wasn’t when I started the book initially) but must everything in the book can easily be found online. However, that in no way diminishes the time effort and care that went into creating this book. I feel it was more fluid then chronological but overall it was excellent as far as covering everything that happened and the resulting verdict. It’s honestly a great read for anyone interested in true crime and I highly recommend it.

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A good read but I found that it repeated itself in places which made it a bit hard going for me. Other than that it was a good book to read.

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I normally really love true crime stories and they can be told in so many way but I struggled with this one. While I found the story intriguing and debated the guilt of this father accused of killing his three children, the writing style was so hard for me. I wanted a clearer distinction for the timeline. I felt like the story ran on and didn't have great breaks in it. I found myself confused and having to re-read and them skipping parts. Like many others in the reviews I was looking for more insight into the authors thoughts and experiences. Unfortunately this one just wasn't a hit for me at all.

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"This House of Grief" is getting its U.S. debut after originally being published in Australia in 2014. Helen Garner is well known and beloved in Australia, a celebrated novelist, an icon "on par with Joan Didion or Annie Ernaux in her home country". I'd agree with those accolades after having first read "The Children's Bach" and now "This House of Grief". The two are worlds apart in subject matter (sprawling family drama vs. courtroom proceedings) yet they both proceed with the efficiency and keen insight Garner brings to her subjects.

In 2005 a father was charged with the murder of his three sons after the car he was driving flew off the road and into a dam. On Father's Day. Garner had journalist credentials and sat in on the court proceedings, detailing the arguments and testimonies, the accused's behavior and demeanor, the witnesses, the jurors, the whole system. Garner interrogates not only the evidence but also her response to it, her visceral reaction to the chaotic and mundane facts presented in the case. She involves herself in the narrative as the observer, the decider of guilt and innocence, if only in her own thoughts, and pulls the reader into that mindset with her.

"My head was full of a very loud clanging. Nothing expert, nothing trained or intellectual. Just a shit-detector going off, that was all. The alarm bells of a woman who had been in the world for more than sixty years, knowing men, sometimes hearing them say true things, sometimes being told lies." We're sitting right next to her, listening to every word, making up our minds.

My thanks to NetGalley and Pantheon Books for the ARC. "This House of Grief" was published in the U.S. in October.

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This is the type of 'thoughtful true crime' that I appreciate. It deals with an awful crime and the subsequent murder trial, but it doesn't have the sleeziness or gossippy nature of a lot of the work out there. The central question is still: did he do it? Which is good and keeps the tension throughout the book.
But there are also broader questions, especially on the design of the justice system and the idea of putting a jury in charge to determine guilt in a situation where very little is clear about the truth of what happened.

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* I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley. Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for this book. All thoughts are my own.

2.5 stars

I thought the case itself was really interesting, but it also felt very surface level. It didn’t feel like anything I couldn’t find if I just googled the case.

Also, my ebook had really poor formatting and I hope it’s not how the final book is, but there were no chapters at all. Everything felt like it just kept going and going. It would have been a lot better if it was set up to have those chapters for a better mental break point and pause point.

I felt fairly blah about this book so I probably wouldn’t recommend it, I’d probably just tell my friends to Google the story.

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