Fabulating Beauty: Perspectives on the Fiction of Peter Carey

By Andreas Gaile | Go to book overview

Peter Carey's Short Stories
Trapped in a Narrative Labyrinth

CORNELIA SCHULZE


Introduction

Throughout Carey's fiction, both literal and figurative entrap-
ments are invoked “…”. His fictions abound with actual
prisons and cages, which perhaps serve as metonym for Aus-
tralian society. But he also is fascinated by the construction of
entrapping structures “…” and often that involves individual,
figuratively entrapping structures.1

BOTH PETER CAREY'S NOVELS and his short stories frequently contain restrictive situations, places and events. In his narratives Carey creates fictive worlds that follow their own logic and often incorporate surreal, fabulous and bizarre elements. Anthony Hassall observes rightly that “Carey is a poet of fear and the tales that he tells explore the blacker recesses of the personal and the national psyches.”2 Hence we are often confronted with dystopian visions in which the protagonists struggle ineffectively to escape. These visions are plainly recognizable as fear-haunted, terrifying mirror images of today's late-capitalist world. Simultaneously,

1 M.D. Fletcher, “The Theme of Entrapment in Peter Carey's Fiction,” in Australian
Literature Today
, ed. R.K. Dhawan & David Kerr (New Delhi: Indian Society for
Commonwealth Literature 1993): 74.

2 Anthony J. Hassall, Peter Carey's Fiction: Dancing on Hot Macadam (St Lucia:
U of Queensland P, 1994): 2.

-117-

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