Carey goes cybersurfing

by
September 1994, no. 164
Buy this book

The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith by Peter Carey

University of Queensland Press, $34.95 hb

Carey goes cybersurfing

by
September 1994, no. 164

This is a dazzling book. A sprawling, sensual, rambunctious marvel of a novel, it drives its readers out of their everyday world and every comfortable preconception. It takes enormous risks, not least that of demanding our understanding for the monstrous.

The first striking achievement of The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith is in creating two wholly imaginary countries on some alternative Earth, countries with their customs, their governments, their literatures, their languages, their entangled histories. It is a feat I have rarely seen equalled, except perhaps in Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed. Yet these lands, like hers, are based at the same time on a study of actual human history. In the case of Tristan Smith this history is particularly that of colonisation. These living pages say more about the colonial and the post-colonial, the way they shape minds for generations, than many an academic text.

Marie Maclean reviews 'The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith' by Peter Carey

The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith

by Peter Carey

University of Queensland Press, $34.95 hb

Buy this book

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