Peter Carey's brilliant, hilarious, Booker Prize-shortlisted Illywhacker is the novel that brought him to international intention.
Herbert Badgery is vagabond and charlatan, aviator and car salesman, seducer and patriarch. He might very well be the embodiment of Australia's national character, especially in its fondness for tall stories and questionable history. As this charming scoundrel traverses the continent and a century's worth of outlandish encounters – not least with a genteel dowager fending off madness with an electric belt, and a ravishing young girl with a dangerous fondness for rooftop trysts – one truth emerges. Herbert Badgery may in fact be the king of all con men.
'Illywhacker is such an astonishing novel, of such major proportions, that before saying anything else, one must record gratitude for its existence.' Geoffrey Dutton, The Bulletin
'A book of awesome breadth, ambition, and downright narrative joy . . . A triumph.' Washington Post Book World
'Carey can spin a yarn with the best of them . . . A big, garrulous, funny novel.' Howard Jacobson, New York Times Book Review
'it is impossible to convey in a review the cumulative brilliance and accelerating hilarity of the prose.' London Review of Books
'The finest and funniest picaresque novel yet written in Australia.' National Times