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About the book
  • Published: 3 November 2008
  • ISBN: 9781741666373
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $32.99
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His Illegal Self




From the two time winner of the Booker Prize.

From the two time winner of the Booker Prize.

'When the boy was almost eight a woman stepped out of the elevator into the apartment on East 62nd Street and he recognised her straight away. It was the smell his heart knew - patchouli, jasmine, other stuff... That was pretty typical of growing up with Grandma Selkirk… No one would dream of saying, here is your mother returned to you.'

His Illegal Self is the story of Che. Raised in isolated privilege by his New York grandmother, he is the precocious son of radical student activists at Harvard in the late sixties. Yearning for his famous Outlaw parents, denied all access to television and the news, he takes hope from his long-haired teenage neighbour who predicts, "They will come for you, man. They'll break you out of here."

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 hippy commune in the jungle of tropical 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? Never sentimental, this is an achingly beautiful story of the love between a young woman and a little boy. It may make you cry more than once before it lifts your spirit in the most lovely, artful, unexpected way.

  • Pub date: 3 November 2008
  • ISBN: 9781741666373
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $32.99

About the Author

Peter Carey

Peter Carey was born in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, and now lives in New York. He is the author of fourteen novels (including one for children), two volumes of short stories, and two books on travel. Amongst other prizes, Carey has won the Booker Prize twice (for Oscar and Lucinda and True History of the Kelly Gang), the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize twice (for Jack Maggs and True History of the Kelly Gang), and the Miles Franklin Literary Award three times (for Bliss, Oscar and Lucinda and Jack Maggs). He is an officer of the Order of Australia and a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Literature and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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Awards & Recognition

  • Queensland Literary Awards

    Shortlisted • 2008 • Queensland Literary Awards (Fiction)


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