Set in inner suburban 1970s Melbourne, Monkey Grip describes the fluid relationships of a community of friends who are living and loving in new ways. Single parent Nora falls in love with Javo, a heroin addict, and together they try to make sense of their lives and the choices they have made.
Set in inner Melbourne over two summers, Monkey Grip is a frank portrayal of a divorced mother who is attempting to cope with both her thirteen-year-old daughter and her own relationship with a drug addict, while also trying to get into the music business. As she battles to regain control of her life, we meet an array of talented and reckless musicians, actors, and writers, all of whom play a part in her world and most of whom refuse to live by society's rules.
'This chapter proposes that in the literary sphere the drug trope reframes spatial and temporal regulatory notions of the body. The drug metaphor disrupts temporal linearity through the reconfiguration of “junk time”. Likewise, landscapes, cityscapes and a sense of place are re-imagined in fluid, drugged dreamscapes. In this way, drug imagery evokes leakages and slippages across time, space and the body enabling a re-evaluation of corporeal possibilities and potential. The “perverse” portrayal of the subject-body in drug literature is hyperbolised through the drug trope. The extremities of drug use also magnify the examination of difference between bodies based on gender and corresponding (dis)connections with space and time. A textual analysis of the Australian novel, Helen Garner’s Monkey Grip (1977) in this chapter provides a literary example.'