Jack Maggs by Peter Carey

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The Booker Prize-winning author of Oscar and Lucinda returns to the nineteenth century in an utterly captivating mystery. The year is 1837 and a stranger is prowling London. He is Jack Maggs, an illegal returnee from the prison island of Australia. He has the demeanor of a savage and the skills of a hardened criminal, and he is risking his life on seeking vengeance and reconciliation.
       Installing himself within the household of the genteel grocer Percy Buckle, Maggs soon attracts the attention of a cross section of London society. Saucy Mercy Larkin wants him for a mate. The writer Tobias Oates wants to possess his soul through hypnosis. But Maggs is obsessed with a plan of his own. And as all the various schemes converge, Maggs rises into the center, a dark looming figure, at once frightening, mysterious, and compelling. Not since Caleb Carr's The Alienist have the shadowy city streets of the nineteenth century lit up with such mystery and romance.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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 December 18, 2007 by Vintage. 339 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Education & Reference, Action & Adventure. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Oates, penetrating his "patient's" ruses, recognizes a motherlode of material waiting to be tapped, and offers the man a deal: the name of someone who can locate Phipps in exchange for two weeks of demonstrating his ability to engage Maggs's fit-inducing demons through hypnosis.

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Entertainment Weekly

B- Originally posted Feb 20, 1998 Published in issue #419-420 Feb 20, 1998 Order article reprints

Feb 20 1998 | Read Full Review of Jack Maggs

Suite 101

Oates is loosely based on Dickens himself – in 1837 the novelist had gained a small degree of fame with the publication a year earlier of The Pickwick Papers and the novelist is known to have been attracted to his sister-in-law (although the sexual liaison and pregnancy is a myth on Carey’s part).

Feb 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Jack Maggs


Jack Maggs, the title character of Peter Carey's arresting new novel, has returned furtively to England, from the penal colony in Australia to which he has been deported for life.

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London Review of Books

3 · 5 February 1998 From Scott Herrick Frank Kermode and Paul Eustice (Letters, 30 October 1997) may be interested in the definition of ‘pooka’ which I came across in Oscar Wilde’s 1889 review of Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry by W.B.

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Curious Book Fans

Jack Maggs is a criminal – a convict shipped away from England to Australia for his crimes, who returns to his native 19th century London to contact one Henry Phipps.

Sep 23 2012 | Read Full Review of Jack Maggs

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