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.