Illywhacker by Peter Carey

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In Australian slang, an illywhacker is a country fair con man, an unprincipled seller of fake diamonds and dubious tonics. And Herbert Badgery, the 139-year-old narrator of Peter Carey's uproarious novel, may be the king of them all. Vagabond and charlatan, aviator and car salesman, seducer and patriarch, Badgery is a walking embodiment of the Australian national character—espcially of its proclivity for tall stories and barefaced lies.

As Carey follows this charming scoundrel across a continent and a century, he creates a crazy quilt of outlandish encounters, with characters that include a genteel dowager who fends off madness with an electric belt and a ravishing young girl with a dangerous fondness for rooftop trysts. Boldly inventive, irresistibly odd, Illywhacker is further proof that Peter Carey is one of the most enchanting writers at work in any hemisphere.

About Peter Carey

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PETER CAREY is the author of eleven previous novels and has twice received the Booker Prize. His other honors include the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Born in Australia, he has lived in New York City for twenty years.
Published September 1, 2010 by Vintage. 608 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Action & Adventure. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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This new novel by the talented Australian writer (The Fat Man In History, 1980, and Bliss, 1981) clearly outlines the struggle for a national Australian identity.

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Publishers Weekly

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First published in 1985, this picaresque tale from Australian novelist Carey presents the life story of a highly unreliable 139-year-old con man.

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London Review of Books

If you’re not normally a fat book reader, you mustn’t be outfaced by the fatness of Illywhacker, nor by the price, which is hardly a fat book price, especially when the fat book is as comely as this one.

Aug 19 2010 | Read Full Review of Illywhacker


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