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Peter Carey is at his inventive, brilliant best in His Illegal Self, a novel about a family who, once met, will never leave you.

Peter Carey is at his inventive, brilliant best in His Illegal Self, a novel about a family who, once met, will never leave you.

Che is the precocious son of radical student activists at Harvard in the late sixties. Raised in isolated privilege by his New York grandmother, he yearns for his famous outlaw parents.? ?Soon Che too is an outlaw: fleeing down subways, abandoning seedy motels at night, he is pitched into a journey that leads him to a hippie commune in the rainforests of Queensland. Here he slowly, bravely confronts his life, learning that nothing is what it seems. Who is his real mother? Was that his real father? If all he suspects is true, what should he do??

'Reading this novel is like peering at the human heart . . . an adventure story for the modern, tormented soul.' Cathleen Schine, New York Review of Books

'Carey seems to invent himself fresh each time he publishes . . . utterly sucking a reader in.' Mark Thomas, Canberra Times

'There are times when his ability to empathise with a small child recalls, and comes close to matching, David Copperfield.' John Preston, Sunday Telegraph

'Magnificent . . . A novel of narrative complexity and blindingly direct emotion.' Boston Globe


'Psychologically astute and diabolically suspenseful . . . Carey's unique take on the conflict between the need to belong and the dream of freedom . . . is at once terrifying and mythic.' Donna Seaman, Booklist

'Brilliantly vital . . . Funny and forlorn.' James Wood, The New Yorker

'Carey is a thoroughly modern writer, smashing genre boundaries, ranging in tone from wild comedy to grim tragedy, viewing the past with a decidedly contemporary eye.' Los Angeles Times Book Review

Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780143573296

    April 22, 2015

    Penguin

    288 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Trade Paperback

    9781741666373

    November 3, 2008

    Vintage Australia

    288 pages

    RRP $32.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Hardback

    9781741665352

    February 1, 2008

    Knopf Australia

    288 pages

    RRP $45.00

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781760141387

    April 22, 2015

    Penguin eBooks

    288 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks

Awards and Recognition

  • Queensland Literary Awards
    2008
    Shortlisted
    Queensland Literary Awards (Fiction)