By Peter Carey
In Australian slang, an illywhacker is a rustic reasonable con guy, an unprincipled vendor of pretend diamonds and doubtful tonics. And Herbert Badgery, the 139-year-old narrator of Peter Carey's uproarious novel, could be the king of all of them. Vagabond and charlatan, aviator and vehicle salesman, seducer and patriarch, Badgery is a jogging embodiment of the Australian nationwide character--espcially of its proclivity for tall tales and barefaced lies.
As Carey follows this captivating scoundrel throughout a continent and a century, he creates a loopy cover of outlandish encounters, with characters that come with a genteel dowager who fends off insanity with an electrical belt and a stupendous younger lady with a deadly fondness for rooftop trysts. Boldly artistic, irresistibly unusual, Illywhacker is extra evidence that Peter Carey is among the such a lot captivating writers at paintings in any hemisphere.
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Additional resources for Illywhacker
Hannah: Stop it. Thank you for the tea. Chloe: If you don't want him, I'll have him. Is he married? Hannah: I haven't the slightest idea. Aren't you supposed to have a pony? Chloe: I'm just trying to fix you up, Hannah. Hannah: Believe me, it gets less important. Chloe: I mean for the dancing. He can come as Beau Brummel. Hannah: I don't want to dress up and I don't want a dancing partner, least of all Mr Nightingale. I don't dance. Chloe: Don't be such a prune. You were kissing him, anyway. Hannah: He was kissing me, and only out of general enthusiasm.
If I find anything on Byron, or Chater, or Hodge, I'll pass it on. Nightingale, Sussex. (Pause. ) Bernard: Thank you. I'm sorry about that business with my name. Hannah: Don't mention it... Bernard: What was Hodge's college, by the way? Hannah: Trinity. Bernard: Trinity? Hannah: Yes. ) Yes. Byron's old college. Bernard: How old was Hodge? Hannah: I'd have to look it up but a year or two older than Byron. Twenty-two .. Bernard: Contemporaries at Trinity? Hannah: (Wearily) Yes, Bernard, and no doubt they were both in the cricket eleven when Harrow played Eton at Lords!
Are you sure? You seem quite sentimental over geometry. But the hermit is very very good. The genius of the place. Hannah: (Pleased) That's my title! Bernard: Of course. Hannah: (Less pleased) Of course? Bernard: Of course. Who was he when he wasn't being a symbol? Hannah: I don't know. Bernard: Ah. Hannah: I mean, yet. Bernard: Absolutely. What did they do with all the paper? Does Peacock say? Hannah: Made a bonfire. Bernard: Ah, well. Hannah: I've still got Lady Croom's garden books to go through.
Illywhacker by Peter Carey