Thursday 10 May 2007

9. Theft: A Love Story

So, I finally finished The King of the Fields, which turned out to be one of the most wretchedly bad books I've read this year. It was scattered and weird and when the two main characters pulled a Thelma & Louise on the last page (sans car, of course), I wasn't sad. I think Singer may be in my bad books for awhile. I would apologize for spoiling the ending for y'all but you surely know better by now than to read this one...?

Now I'm about half way through Peter Carey's latest novel, Theft: A Love Story. This one was published last year but I really don't like hardcovers much so I waited till it came out in paperback - which I knew would be last Saturday night because I'm obsessive that way. It's one of those lovely Vintage Canada trade paperbacks with the rough-feeling cover and the well appointed margins with perfect-sized font... Besides the tactile perfection of this one, I'm really enjoying the read too. I've only really been disappointed by two of Carey's 10 novels - Illywacker which just went on way too long, and Jack Maggs, which in retrospect I don't remember why I didn't enjoy.

Theft is about a thuggy artist named Michael Boone, a.k.a. Butcher Bones, and his failed social relations and complications holding onto his own creations. It's told from two narrative perspectives, Michael's and his brother Hugh's. (Hugh is, I'm guessing, supposed to be an idiot savant; in any case, his narrative is confusing and compelling at the same time.) Carey seems to have lost some of the raw energy that made books like True History of the Kelly Gang and Oscar and Lucinda so mind-blowing, but there's no denying he's still a great writer. I'll continue to enjoy this and look forward to his next one.

The first Carey book I read was The Tax Inspector, which was on my Commonwealth Lit. syllabus in the second year of my undergrad. degree (this is the same class that introduced me to Janet Frame).

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