In Honour & Other People’s Children, Helen Garner examines the idiosyncratic and bothersome notions of honour by which her characters – adults and children – shape their untidy lives.
Honour is about a couple whose marriage, though abandoned in practice, persists in spirit. But the arrival of a new lover obliges them to make a proper separation and draw their child into the conflict.
Other People’s Children is a witty, sad story of the breakdown of friendship between two women, Scotty and Ruth, and the collapse of their collective household. Scotty loves Ruth’s daughter as only the childless can love other people’s children, but the broken friendship leaves Scotty with no claims. Into this mess blunders Madigan, looking for something that Scotty has long ago trained herself not to give.