Peter Carey's The Tax Inspector is a wickedly funny satire on modern life and families.
The Catchprices may be the most spectacularly contentious family since Dostoevsky's Karamozovs. Granny Catchprice runs her family business, and her family, with senility, cunning, and a handbag full of explosives. Sixteen-year-old Benny dreams of transforming a failing automobile franchise into an empire, and himself into an angel. But when a beautiful and very pregnant agent of the Australian Taxation Office enters their lives, the resulting collision becomes, in Carey's hands, a masterpiece of coal-black humour and compassionate horror.
'Peter Carey is to Sydney what Joyce was to Dublin . . . an absolute master of language and of storytelling.' Thomas Keneally
'A Hieronymus Bosch painting of a book – dense, demonic, at once surreal and hyper-real . . . Let it bowl you over.' Philadelphia Inquirer
'Explosive and enigmatic . . . stunning. Carey makes of his tale an eerie tragicomedy, a novel of manners that edges, inexorably, into a chilling parable out of Edgar Allan Poe.' Newsday
'A brilliant, powerful and dangerous writer. Dangerous because to read his book involves a loss of innocence.' Courier-Mail
'Crammed with biting social commentary, brimming with energy, The Tax Inspector is unsettling, devastating, and at times devastatingly funny. It dazzles and disturbs.' San Diego Tribune
'He works a literary territory all his own, combining elements of absurdism, black humor, social satire and old-fashioned family saga. The writing conveys such authority and lyricism that it's a pleasure to enter, without a quibble, Carey's marvelously wacky profoundly moving world.' Miami Herald
'A lurid, funny, gritty novel.' Jay McInerney
'Carey's antic world recalls the pop art landscapes of Kurt Vonnegut and Thomas Pynchon in their clownish instability, their subservience to a cruel destiny.' The Nation