Fabulating Beauty: Perspectives on the Fiction of Peter Carey

By Andreas Gaile | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Bliss and Damnation
Peter Carey in Australia


AS AN ARTIST Peter Carey has qualities in common with the protagonists of his fiction. He is a dare-devil, a dealer, an investigator, a spin-doctor, a phantom, an opportunist a literary Houdini. Like two of his best creations Harry Joy in Bliss and Herbert Badgery in Illywhackerhe is a prodigious storyteller and an insouciant borrower, embellishing his tales into fantastic designs. “I didn't know that places like this even existed on the earth,” says a visitor to the emblematic architect's house in The Tax Inspector.1 Many visitors to Carey's fictions have had a similar response. The dreams of genius are idiosyncratic, as difficult to achieve as they are breathtaking in conception. That is the author's energizing risk as he writes back to Charles Dickens's Great Expectations in Jack Maggs or tells the True History of the Kelly Gang in Ned Kelly's own voice. Failure is factored into the wager excitingly as the underdog fiction-maker uses every trick of his trade to deliver himself from the task he has set. Carey re-treads and re-fits, like the used-car-dealing Catchprice family in The Tax Inspector. He shuffles the pack like Oscar and Lucinda. He aggregates the bricks of story jokes, yarns, memories in a stop–start rhythm that gives a sense of randomness to the way things build up or fall out. People and events combine and recombine like the tumble of a poker machine. Sometimes the pattern can feel deterministic, with elements colliding to maximum effect in well-timed farce. Harry Joy in Bliss literally 'falls out' of the tree from which he is spying, bringing

1 Peter Carey, The Tax Inspector (St Lucia: U of Queensland P, 1991): 204. Further
page references are in the main text.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Fabulating Beauty: Perspectives on the Fiction of Peter Carey
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 438

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?