Peter Carey Watch #6

Reviews of His Illegal Self

Gordon Houser in "The Wichita Eagle": "One of the best things about the novel is the language, which is often poetic: 'The Boeings spinning their white contrails across the cold blue sky -- loneliness and hope, expanding like paper flowers in water.' Or this: 'The foreign sky, bruised like cheekbones, heavy rain streaming in a distant fringe.'...Beautifully told, it will leave you aching for the completion denied this innocent victim."

Garth Risk Hallberg, on "The Millions" weblog, compares Carey to another, American, writer and concludes that the author doesn't quite reach the heights he was aiming for: "A kind of antipodean counterpart to E.L. Doctorow (and now, like Doctorow, a resident of New York), the Australian novelist Peter Carey seems able to do virtually anything on the page. A master of plot, character, setting, phrasing, point-of-view, description, and dialogue (among other things), Carey has published sprawling bildungsromans and swift-moving capers, real travelogues and fake confessions, books for children and books for adults...However breathtaking the writing, His Illegal Self, falls short of a goal attainable to Peter Carey and to few other novelists: the creation of consciousness."

Review of My Life as a Fake

On the Blogcritics website, Philip Spires finds that "The book is packed with literary references, but is in no way academic. There is a strong sense of place, with the sights, sounds and smells of Kuala Lumpur oozing from the page. The only aspect missing is the taste, and in Malaysia food is much more pervasive an influence in the culture than we encounter via Chubb's adoption of it. It's a minor point...Overall the pace of the book is varied and, here and there, one feels that Peter Carey has over-complicated things and thus detracted from the directness that could have achieved increased impact. But then poetry is like that, isn't it?"

Short Notices

The "3000 Books" weblog looks at Illywhacker by Peter Carey: "How to describe the experience of reading my first Peter Carey novel (for I'm sure I will read another)? I carried on, fond-eyed as a lover, I read every page with exigent attention. Carey is a radical storyteller, and his precise evocation of detail is the alchemical complement to his fulsome imagination. From the cutaneous to the vehicular, the historical to the magical, Illywhacker traverses the rich journeys taken by blood that is fatally flawed; blood which is, after all, but finest filigree of the strongest steel."


Vivien Cuttle examines some of the minutiae around the film version of Oscar and Lucinda. The list of actors who wanted to play Lucinda is rather interesting. But I'm glad director Gillian Armstong stuck with Cate Blanchett.

As revealed on ABC TV a few weeks back, Carey is contemplating going back to his earliest stories and line-editing them. Not rewriting you understand, just cleaning them up a bit so he can read them at literary festivals without gagging. His peers have warned him against it - the editing that is, not the gagging.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 20, 2008 11:33 AM.

Australian Novelists Gaining Recognition? was the previous entry in this blog.

2008 NSW Premier's Literary Award Winners is the next entry in this blog.

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