Jack Maggs

ISBN-10: 0679760377
ISBN-13: 9780679760375
Edition: N/A
List price: $15.95 Buy it from $0.40
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Description: 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.  More...

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Book details

List price: $15.95
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 2/22/1999
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 368
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.638
Language: English

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.

Born in Bacchus Marsh, a country town in the southern state of Victoria, in 1943, Peter Carey has put his Australian background to good use. Yet, even though he consistently writes about Australia, he is far from a regionalist. His writing is marked by its wit, flights of imagination, clear style, solid characterization, and rich texture. He brings to all his fiction a cosmopolitan quality and metaphysical dimension that has led critics to compare his work with that of Jorge Luis Borges Jorge and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. When asked about the debt to Borges, Carey replied: "It is there, it cannot not be there." Carey's first volume of short fiction, The Fat Man in History (1974), with its original and unrealistic use of Australian materials, gained immediate acclaim in Australia. One critic noted that Carey at last fills "a vacancy in the Sophisticated Fantasy Section of the Short Story Industry." A second book of stories, War Crimes (1979), was equally well received and won an important Australian literary award. His first novel, Bliss, appeared in 1982. At the time Carey was balancing his writing career with the operation of an advertising agency in Sydney, and his books were not generally known outside of Australia. When Illywhacker was published, in 1985, followed by British and American editions, he began to receive international attention. The novel, whose title employs an Australian slang word for con artist, retells Australian history and looks into the nation's future, stressing all the while the lies that constitute the national myth; the work was short-listed for the British Booker Prize. Carey's next novel, Oscar and Lucinda (1988), did receive that prestigious prize, and his reputation as an Australian writer with international stature was firmly established. In 1989 he moved to New York, where he still lives, teaching part time at New York University and writing. Even though The Tax Inspector (1992) was written in New York, it continues Carey's exploration of the Australian myth and its effect on the individual. Yet all of Carey's work transcends the Australian experience.

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