Some beautiful lies

Our history mythologised
by
August 1985, no. 73
Buy this book

Illywhacker by Peter Carey

University of Queensland Press, 600 pp, $19.95 pb

Some beautiful lies

Our history mythologised
by
August 1985, no. 73

An Illywhacker, Peter Carey reminds us at the start of his latest and by far his longest novel, is a trickster or spieler. Wilkes cites it in Kylie Tennant’s famous novel of 1941, The Battlers. The other epigraph to the novel is also preoccupied with deception and is familiar to anyone who knows Carey’s work: Brian Kiernan used it as the title of his anthology of new Australian short story writers, The Most Beautiful Lies, an anthology in which Carey himself was represented: It is from Mark Twain and reads in part: ‘Australian history … does not read like history, but like the most beautiful lies; and all of a fresh new sort, no mouldy old stale ones. It is full of surprises and adventures, the incongruities, and contradictions, and incredibilities; but they are all true, they all happened.’

Laurie Clancy reviews 'Illywhacker' by Peter Carey

Illywhacker

by Peter Carey

University of Queensland Press, 600 pp, $19.95 pb

Buy this book

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