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Reviews

How lucky we are that Elizabeth Kleinhenz has mustered the courage to write a biography of a woman who is famous for hating those who attempt such a task! She has written an engaging, nuanced and carefully researched book not just about Germaine Greer but about the societies she has shaped and shocked over the decades. Trust me, you don’t have to be a fan of Germaine Greer to thoroughly enjoy this book.

Rebecca Huntley

Kleinhenz's approach is as imaginative as it is conventionally linear. Using interviews with key figures as well as the archive material, she tracks Greer's life from its beginnings in January 1939. Hers is a well-rounded, sympathetic portrait of a remarkable human being, in a narrative that grips from the start. I'm in no position to predict how Greer will respond to this newly unauthorised account of her life, but I found it utterly fascinating.

Sara Dowse, The Sydney Morning Herald

Kleinhenz acknowledges the criticisms and leaves the reader to decide what to make of it all. The Greer that emerges is a complex character whose powers of insight and invention are consistently confounded by her enthusiasm for controversy. Kleinhenz’s achievement is to have produced a sympathetic, thoroughly readable portrayal of an ultimately unsympathetic figure.

Lorna Finlayson, Book of the Week - The Guardian

She has produced a terrific book — even-handed and entertaining … Kleinhenz’s biography is richly human and intellectually lucid, uncontaminated by cheap psychology. She lays bare Greer’s personal flaws, cruelties and venomous tongue, but her quiet triumph is to balance them with the majestic achievements.

Melanie Reid, The Times (UK)

Elizabeth Kleinhenz, a former teacher, deserves a bravery medal for writing this biography … [Greer] has had many identities, often concurrently. Kleinhenz shows us Greer the Shakespeare scholar; the wit; the academic who wrote provocative articles for Oz; the “starf***ker” (Greer’s term), who seduced famous men; and the “bully who could be extraordinarily kind”.

Rosamund Urwin, The Sunday Times

The biography does give a strong sense of Greer’s vulnerability and the loneliness that accompanies her courageous individualism. Kleinhenz’s Greer, then, is a kind of secular saint, experimenting with sexual possibilities and domestic arrangements on our behalf and reporting back on their mix of success and failure. She has suffered, too, physically as well as emotionally, as she risked her own comfort to discover what was possible for a modern woman. Wiser heads might have predicted some of the disasters, but wiser heads are usually much more boring than our Germaine, and this biography emphasises her sense of fun and zest for life.

Susan Lever, Inside Story

Greer hasn’t always got it right: she hasn’t been consistent and has sometimes been nasty. She continues to court controversy with out-of-step opinions on younger feminists, transgender rights and, most recently, rape. But I closed Kleinhenz’s book in awe of the woman’s physical, intellectual and emotional energy.

Helen Brown, The Daily Mail

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Formats & editions

  • Germaine
    Elizabeth Kleinhenz

    Paperback

    9780143782858

    November 5, 2019

    Vintage Australia

    432 pages

    Online retailers

    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • Fishpond
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.co.nz

  • Hardback

    9780143782841

    October 29, 2018

    Knopf Australia

    432 pages

    RRP $48.00

    Online retailers

    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • Fishpond
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.co.nz

  • EBook

    9780143782865

    October 29, 2018

    RHA eBooks Adult

    480 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle NZ
    • iBooks NZ
    • Google Play EBook NZ
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ