My Life as a Fake
By Peter Carey
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In his remarkable new novel, the two-time Booker-winning author Peter Carey creates a creature as indelible as Frankenstein. In Melbourne in the late 1940s, a young conservative Australian poet named Christopher Chubb decides to teach his count Continue
In his remarkable new novel, the two-time Booker-winning author Peter Carey creates a creature as indelible as Frankenstein. In Melbourne in the late 1940s, a young conservative Australian poet named Christopher Chubb decides to teach his country a lesson about pretension and authenticity. Choosing as his target the most avant-garde of the literary magazines, he submits for publication the entire oeuvre of one Bob McCorkle, a working-class poet of raw power and sexual frankness, conveniently dead at twenty-four and entirely the product of Chubb's imagination. Not only does the magazine fall for the hoax, but the local authorities also sue its editor for publishing obscenity. At the trial someone uncannily resembling the faked photograph of the invented McCorkle, leaps to his feet. At this moment a horrified Chubb is confronted by the malevolent being he has himself manufactured. Using as a springboard a real literary hoax that transfixed Australia in his boyhood, Peter Carey wickedly and ruefully explores how the phantom poet taunts, haunts and otherwise destroys his maker, pursuing Chubb from Melbourne to a seedy, sweaty, bitter ending in the tropical chaos of Kuala Lumpur. Peter Carey has composed a manic, endearing and penetrating ode to fakery at its most truthful and truth at its most fake, a novel that penetrates to the heart of the alchemy of literature itself.