Peter Carey s/d

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Just finished Jack Maggs, which I picked up kind of randomly. I liked it -- kind of an homage/pastiche/commentary on Dickens and what Dickens represents. Or more accurately, using Dickens as a metaphor for England and a particular kind of Englishness, from an Australian perspective. (Australia as exile and punishment, but also properity and success -- the world after the Fall, I guess.) But it's also a plain old good story, good characters, good settings, nice swoops of peril and tragedy and romance.

So what else is worthwhile? I know Oscar and Lucinda was the big award winner, but all of his books look at least interesting. Any recommendations for a next one?

spittle (spittle), Wednesday, 7 April 2004 07:41 (eighteen years ago) link

I reckon Illywhacker - Carey before he became a New Yorker and had to write about Ned Kelly to prove he's still an Aussie. Maybe someone thinks I'm being too harsh?

sandy mcconnell (sandy mc), Wednesday, 7 April 2004 10:44 (eighteen years ago) link

yes sandy! lllywhacker is my favourite book of his, Oscar and Lucinda is good too. Destroy "The Tax Inspector"

jed_ (jed), Wednesday, 7 April 2004 11:53 (eighteen years ago) link

I've gone off Carey a bit, I don't think he's dated so well. I like The Fat Man In History, his collected short stories from the seventies.

Jonathan Z. (Joanthan Z.), Wednesday, 7 April 2004 12:12 (eighteen years ago) link

Oscar and Lucinda is a magnificent book, I reckon. I even like his non-historical books, like The Tax Inspector, which I think has a great air of claustrophobia and menace about it, and also reminds you that not everything in Australia is wide open spaces and gum trees and the romance of the open countryside, that there are shitty little strip malls and crappy towns in it too.

That said, I did NOT like My Life as a Fake. I couldn't even really tell you why, I just didn't take to it at all.

accentmonkey (accentmonkey), Thursday, 8 April 2004 09:31 (eighteen years ago) link

I wasn't that wowed by Jack Maggs but I loved The Tax Inspector (even though the ending was a tad over the top). Ignore what Jed said above, it's a brilliant book.

LondonLee (LondonLee), Thursday, 8 April 2004 16:36 (eighteen years ago) link

six years pass...

Reading "My Life as a Fake" now. I think this guy is the best novelist writing in English. The very best. Like "why doesn't he have the Nobel Prize?" best. Like, "why do I read novels by other people when there are still Peter Carey novels I haven't read?" best.

Especially "Ned Kelly" and "Oscar and Lucinda."

Guayaquil (eephus!), Monday, 19 July 2010 03:35 (twelve years ago) link

I loved Bliss and dug Jack Maggs; I intend to get to several others in time. He is great for sure in my opinion

les yeux sans aerosmith (underrated aerosmith albums I have loved), Monday, 19 July 2010 04:02 (twelve years ago) link

I need to read more. I've only read O&L. On the whole I liked it but my opinion veered between thinking it was one of the best modern novels I'd read and finding its quirkiness rather wearing. The ostensible subject matter puts me off the likes of "Ned Kelly" or "Jack Maggs" so I'll probably try Theft or My Life as a Fake next.

frankiemachine, Monday, 19 July 2010 13:41 (twelve years ago) link

No, do Ned Kelly, it is in every way NOT THE KIND OF BOOK I LIKE but it's an absolute masterpiece.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Wednesday, 21 July 2010 19:43 (twelve years ago) link

I agree with Kelly being a masterpiece. IMO that and 'Oscar and Lucinda' are Carey's definitely great books. All his other stuff I've had various problems with.

The great big red thing, for those who like a surprise (James Morrison), Thursday, 22 July 2010 00:45 (twelve years ago) link

one month passes...

Loved 'Theft' and really enjoying 'Ned Kelly'.

Un peu d'Eire, ça fait toujours Dublin (Michael White), Wednesday, 1 September 2010 14:05 (twelve years ago) link

I liked Theft a lot too, as well as Illywhacker, and I'm really into themes of deception/pretending to be someone you're not so it seems like I should love a lot of his books but I haven't been able to get into most of the other ones I've read.

congratulations (n/a), Wednesday, 1 September 2010 14:09 (twelve years ago) link

really shld read more of this guy, he's pretty much my gf's fav living author

just sayin, Wednesday, 1 September 2010 14:23 (twelve years ago) link

Oh duh I just read Parrot and Olivier in America too, and I already forgot. It was OK.

congratulations (n/a), Wednesday, 1 September 2010 15:56 (twelve years ago) link

twelve years pass...

Watching quite mediocre adaptation of Oscar and Lucinda - though it has a great casting and score- and reminded of how much I love this book so very much.

“Our whole faith is a wager, Miss Leplastrier. We bet–it is all in Pascal and very wise it is too…we bet that there is a God. We bet our life on it. We calculate the odds, the return, that we shall sit with the saints in paradise. Our anxiety about our bet will wake us before dawn in a cold sweat. We are out of bed and on our knees, even in the midst of winter. And God sees us, and sees us suffer. And how can this God, a God who sees us at prayer beside our bed…I cannot see,” he said, “that such a God, whose fundamental requirement of us is that we gamble our mortal souls, every second of our temporal existence…It is true! We must gamble every instant of our allotted span. We must stake everything on the unprovable fact of His existence.”

…”That such a God,” said Oscar, “knowing the anguish and the trembling hope with which we wager…That such a God can look unkindly on a chap wagering a few quid on the likelihood of a dumb animal crossing the line first, unless…unless–and no one has ever suggested such a thing to me–it might be considered blasphemy to apply to common pleasure that which is by its very nature divine.”


I must read it again soon. The scene of the last bet kills me, it makes me emotional and overcome even just thinking about it. There’s so much in it, it’s such a rich and gorgeous piece of work.

after several days on “the milk,” (gyac), Tuesday, 1 November 2022 19:35 (one month ago) link


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