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The Resource Jack Maggs, Peter Carey

Jack Maggs, Peter Carey

Label
Jack Maggs
Title
Jack Maggs
Statement of responsibility
Peter Carey
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
In London in the 1830s, a young thief insinuates himself into a wealthy household and soon falls in with an author fascinated by the criminal mind
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
  • Age Book of the Year, 1997.
  • Age Fiction or Imaginative Writing Award, 1997.
  • Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book, 1998.
  • Commonwealth Writers' Prize, South East Asia and South Pacific: Best Book, 1998.
  • Library Journal Best Books, 1998.
  • Miles Franklin Award, 1998.
  • New York Times Notable Book, 1998
Review
  • /*Starred Review*/ If the first months of 1998 are any indication, it looks to be a superb year for the English historical novel. First came Iain Pears' sweeping An Instance of the Fingerpost, a passionate evocation of late-seventeenth-century, post-Cromwell England. Now comes Australian novelist Carey (Oscar and Lucinda, 1988) with a loving tribute to Dickensian London, circa 1830. The central figure in this story, which contains many parallels to Dickens' life and work, is one Jack Maggs (yes, the allusion to Magwitch in Great Expectations is intended), a convicted thief who has returned to London from Australia, where he has become a respected landowner, to seek out a young man he considers his son. Still a wanted felon in England, Maggs secures a position as a footman while he searches for his heir. Soon he has become embroiled in the affairs of his employer, Mr. Buckle, and in the life of a writer and would-be mesmerist, Tobias Oates, a fictional version of Dickens. All of these vividly drawn characters are in pursuit of something--wealth, fame, love--and all of their obsessions come clattering together in a gripping finale that, in the classic Dickens manner, overlays broad-stroked tragedy and melodrama with a finely nuanced rendering of inner turmoil. Expect the December release of a film version of Oscar and Lucinda to spur demand for this first-rate historical novel. ((Reviewed January 1 & 15, 1998)) -- Bill Ott
  • If any contemporary author has the goods to pull off a variation on Dickens, Carey (The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith) is certainly the man. With great panache, he executes an abundantly atmospheric and rollickingly entertaining reprise of Great Expectations. In 1837, a mysterious man--hulking, silent, missing two fingers--steps off the coach in London. His name, we eventually learn, is Jack Maggs (read Abel Magwitch), and he has illegally returned to England from Australia, where he was brutally used in the penal colony. He''s a dead man if discovered, but he''s obsessed with finding his (adoptive) son, whom he''s been supporting for years--facts we glean in small, suspenseful increments. Circumstances propel Maggs into the home of Sir Percival Buckle, where he is quickly employed as a footman, and where he catches the eye of a saucy chambermaid with a tragic past. An attack of tic doloureux brings Maggs to the attention of ambitious young writer Tobias Oates, who employs the newly fashionable "science" of animal magnetism to draw out the "phantom" in Maggs''s subconscious that is causing the pain. Under hypnosis, Maggs reveals some of his secrets, and Oates determines--without informing Maggs--to make his reputation with a novel about the criminal mind. Oates has other tawdry secrets--an affair with his sister-in-law, monstrous debts, the legacy of a terrible childhood--but he is protected by the veneer of respectability. Indeed, the thin line between respectability and ruin, the corrupting power of money and the cruelty of class distinctions are themes that Carey rings with adroit authority. As the plot rockets along with surprises at every turn, Carey creates a vivid, multifaceted picture of 1800s London, especially the squalid and tormented lives of the poor and the criminal underclass. The racy, pungent dialogue is faithful to period idioms and to the muscular vulgarity of Cockney slang. Best of all, Carey''s memorable characters can stand proudly in the pantheon beside those of Dickens. If one book earns the accolade of "irresistible" this year, it should be this novel. (Feb.) FYI: The movie version of Oscar and Lucinda, Carey''s Booker Prize-winning novel, will be released in December. Viking will publish a tie-in edition in trade paperback.
  • Carey''s Booker Prize-winning novel, Oscar and Lucinda (1988), has recently been released in motion-picture form, and it is easy to visualize on screen this new, rollicking, scary novel of London''s underbelly circa 1838. A vivid, sensory study of circumstance and need, the story commences with its protagonist newly, illegally arrived in London, single-mindedly seeking one person who can calm his roiling heart. With a hidden but doubtless criminal history and an intriguingly mysterious present, the young but imposing Jack Maggs affects everyone he encounters, even as he insinuates himself into a wealthy household. Among those he inadvertently fascinates is Tobias Oates, a writer, adulterer, and amateur practitioner of the mesmeric arts, whose soul plummets as his fame rises, his fortunes suddenly, inextricably linked to Maggs. A broad, suspenseful story that releases its secrets gradually and masterfully; highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/97.]--Janet Ingraham Dwyer, formerly with Worthington P.L., Ohio
  • Returning to the historical territory--19th-century Australia and England--of his Booker-winning Oscar and Lucinda (1988), Carey sets his sights on 1830s London, where an exiled convict has returned to breathe the air of home and to see his beloved son. Pardoned and prosperous in New South Wales, but still under penalty of death if discovered in England, the fearless Jack Maggs steps out of a coach one evening in London to search for Henry Phipps, the boy he had left behind years before. He discovers Phipps's house, but, finding no one home, Maggs seeks employment as a neighbor's footman in order to keep an eye out for his son's return. That night, at a literary dinner hosted by his new employer, Maggs makes the acquaintance of an up-and-coming young writer, Tobias Oates, whose skill as a mesmerist is needed to cure Maggs of a "fit." Oates, penetrating his "patient's" ruses, recognizes a motherlode of material waiting to be tapped, and offers the man a deal: the name of someone who can locate Phipps in exchange for two weeks of demonstrating his ability to engage Maggs's fit-inducing demons through hypnosis. As they meet, however, other forces conspire to alter the scheme of things. During his wife's confinement, Oates began an affair with her sister, who now reveals that she too is pregnant. At the same time, a maid in the household where Maggs works has set her cap for him, arousing jealousy in his employer. To top things off, Phipps is revealed to be in hiding nearby, terrified of being disinherited by the man who spared no expense for him but who--he knows--isn't really his father. Making his way through Caroy's complexities of plot, Maggs is gradually and sure-handedly revealed as being honest, fierce, and fabulously deluded. His incessant letter-writing, though, used to explain his past to his boy (and to us), proves a cumbersome device. (Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 1997)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
001261
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1943-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Carey, Peter
Dewey number
823
Index
no index present
LC call number
PR9619.3.C36
LC item number
J33 1998
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
Great Britain
Target audience
adult
Label
Jack Maggs, Peter Carey
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First American edition.
Extent
306 pages
Isbn
9780679440086
Isbn Type
(alk. paper)
Lccn
97036893
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 37464487
  • 278255
Label
Jack Maggs, Peter Carey
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First American edition.
Extent
306 pages
Isbn
9780679440086
Isbn Type
(alk. paper)
Lccn
97036893
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 37464487
  • 278255

Library Locations

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      37.377573 -76.770995
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