Jack Maggs: A Novel [Peter Carey] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The Booker Prize-winning author of Oscar and Lucinda returns to the. The year is and ex-convict Jack Maggs has returned illegally to London from Australia. Installing himself in the household of a genteel grocer, he attracts . In Jack Maggs, Peter Carey has written a twentieth-century, post-colonial Dickens novel, in an imaginative and audacious act of appropriation.

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Right on the edge of the novel there is an agonised story of homosexual love. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. I think “Jack Maggs” is brilliant, although I’m not the person to offer a neutral assessment.

And Carey’s own voice his driven, nervy, excitable dialogue, his appetite for names and things and physical presences comes through forcefully. Maggs, a figure both frightening and mysteriously compelling, is The year is and ex-convict Jack Maggs has returned illegally to London from Australia.

It’s a variation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations and while Carey strips all sentimentality from the tale he doesn’t succeed in plumbing the depths of human nature that Dickens did. Jack Maggs, a foundling trained as a thief, betrayed and deported to a penal colony in Australia, has reversed his fortunes.

A servant in the writer’s house explains her master’s obsession with others’ lives. The prose was disappointing too. But Carey isn’t interested in calling attention to his own artistic sophistication. Maggs says that he determined to “weave [Phipps] a nest so strong that no one would ever hurt his goodness” He returns to Australia after the meeting having witnessed the destruction of the dream he had nourished for so many years.


Jack Maggs Reader’s Guide

He becomes rich in Australia and grants the boy a generous yearly stipend. Maggs is never a “gentleman;” Phipps is. Maggs is a Magwitch type character and there is also Tobias Oates, writer and practitioner of magnetism hypnotismwho is an analogue of Dickens. This is a story of horrible secrets, risky confidences, and romantic entanglements.

Nov 08, Ann rated it it was amazing. Jan 20, Brian rated it it petsr amazing. The author willingly admits to having once or twice stretched history to suit his own historical ends. In the meantime, at a literary dinner hosted by his new employer, Maggs makes the acquaintance of an up-and-coming young writer, Tobias Oates, whose skill as a mesmerist is needed to cure Maggs of a “fit. I found it difficult to get to know some of the characters also.

Jan 18, Shawn rated it really carej it Shelves: No characters mags latch onto, everyone’s motives very murky with no light in sight – just not much life to it and very little interesting detail of the period, unless you find mesmerism fascinating.

Jack Maggs by Peter Carey

Not to be outdone by the guys, Mercy Larkin, Mary Oates, and Mary’ sister Lizzy take on important roles as the story is told. Carey has a habit of doing this in his novels.


Maggs himself is wracked with pained memories, and it’s not until the story of his youth unfurls that we understand or share it. Entangled in a relationship with his wife’s sister, struggling to survive financially, and always looking for new material, Oates becomes fascinated with the convict’s violent history, almost to his own undoing.

There is a very subtle sexual tension and sometimes a subtle sense of humor both of which speak to the author’s skill as a writer. His task is to shed his false consciousness and understand that his true destiny lies in Australia.

To help us recommend your next book, tell us what you enjoy reading. This page was last edited on 27 Novemberat Questions and Topics for Discussion 1. Not least, it’s the story of one pteer being possessed by another.

Great extrapolations

For artistry, for psychological subtlety, for sheer entertainment, “Jack Maggs” is sure to beat the dickens out of any other novel this year. Personally though I had hoped to get more from this than I did.

For me, Jack Maggs simply faded away almost as soon as I finished reading it.