Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith





Quickie recap: Born in the small but proud nation of Efica to a beautiful actress and her young, handsome lover, Tristan Smith's birth announcement should have shouted A Star Is Born. But Tristan isn't quite what everyone expected. He still manages to live of a life of espionage, adventure, and surprising stardom while observing a world that isn't quite what it should be.


Quickie review: Dare I call this a comedic political satire? Or just an epic work of impressive imagination? Or just another stunning piece of art by Peter Carey? Take your pick, you can't lose. It's a bit brutal. Tristan is a bit unforgiving. By the end, even the reader becomes a tiny bit more cynical for having spent time in this world not wholly unlike our own, next to Tristan who brings out the best and the worst of people. I've quite liked Carey in the past, but I let this book sit on my dresser for a while, because I had high expectations and don't like them to be dashed. They weren't. I laughed, I cried, I held my breath. I wanted to hold Tristan's hand. I wanted to shake Carey's. Splendidly done.


Quickie recommendation: Long live Peter Carey.

4 comments:

Ms Mac said...

I read this years ago and it put me off reading any more Peter Carey. I've only just recovered and was considering reading Oscar and Lucinda this week.

Funny that....

Steven W. Beattie said...

Peter Carey is one of my favourite authors (esp. True History of the Kelly Gang and My Life as a Fake, but I've never got around to this one. I'll have to put it on my list for the near future.

Jay said...

I really really liked True History of the Kelly Gang. It seemed that it would not at all suit me, and yet I couldn't put it down.

It is funny how books strike us differently.

Lorna said...

I did comment on this but it was only to say that I couldn't get through Lucinda---guess my comment is out chasing your goat in the ether...