The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith Paperback – Jan 23 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Australian novelist Carey presents an extravagantly picaresque tale of a vaguely futuristic and very bizarre world.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Library Journal
Carey creates a fully realized parallel universe in this unusual novel set in Efica, an island nation under the political and cultural domination of the larger Voorstand. Part Bildungsroman, part political allegory, and part meditation on identity, this novel traces the first 23 years of Tristan, its eponymous narrator, a hideously deformed dwarf and son of actress Felicity Smith (the head of a radical theater company and champion of Efican culture). In the novel's first half, Tristan tells of his early adventures with the company, culminating with Felicity's fatal foray into politics. In the second, he recounts his later travels in Voorstand in search of Bill Millefleur, an actor he believes to be his father. This inventive, multilayered work should only add to Carey's already considerable reputation. Highly recommended.
Lawrence Rungren, Bedford Free P.L., Mass.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The main character, Tristan Smith, has an unusual voice, not just in the physical sense, but in the sense of being the story-teller of not only the events he experienced, but also those he didn't, or was too young to remember. One cannot help but think him impulsive, willful, egotistical. It would be easy to dislike him, yet Carey must have realized Tristan's 'voice' could not have been otherwise, for he was both pampered and neglected and sheltered from normal human contact, an upbringing that protected him, on the one hand, but also impeded him socially, on the other. The reader will also appreciate the irony of a man's true character being glimpsed only when he wears a mask, and the truism that a nation's character is revealed by how they treat 'the least of these, my people.'
In contrast to Carey's book, we get a pretty steady diet of stories about handicapped people who triumph over impossible odds, who experience 'miracle healings,' who attain a magical status, who project what we want to see, that is, they appear to be happy because they are shunned if they honestly share their pain as well as their triumphs. Thus, I believe it took real courage to write and publish this book.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
A wierd and funny, but in the end, profound book. Carey shows us our world through the eyes of a deformed child. Read morePublished on Aug. 31 1999
I read this book 2.5 years ago, but just decided to pick it up again for a re-read. I loved the development of fictional countries and language. Read morePublished on Aug. 25 1999
I just wanted to read something in English, so last summer I decided to buy this book. What a mistake! Read morePublished on May 12 1999