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Peter Carey hilariously conjures up dystopia in his picaresque The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith.

Severely afflicted, doomed never to be taller than three foot six, Tristan Smith faces death and danger from the first moment of his energetic and ambitious life. Here, for the first time, is the truth about him, from his birth in the Republic of Efica in the year 371 to the present day. When he goes on trial for multiple offences in Voorstand, a nation of rampaging global dominance, Tristan must plead his case to the very culture that has done for his own. Peter Carey's piercing allegory of imperialism is unmatched for originality and inventiveness.

Carey . . . has outdone himself in this bizarre, uncannily strange dystopia about the life of a dwarf . . . George Orwell and Lewis Carroll wrapped into one.' Publishers Weekly

'Irresistible . . . intimate and theatrical . . . supple and surprising . . . We're in the hands of a master storyteller.' Carol Shields

'Savage and hilarious . . . dazzling.' New York Review of Books

'A cross between John Irving's A Son of the Circus and Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent.' San Francisco Chronicle

'Tristan has an appeal that transcends geography.' Newsday

'A rich, wry and funny novel of perseverance over physical, societal and family deformities.' Boston Globe

'A prickly futurist fantasy . . . gaudy . . . extravagant.' Los Angeles Times

'It's a privilege to read him.' Washington Post Book World

Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    April 22, 2015


    560 pages

    RRP $19.99

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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    April 22, 2015

    Penguin eBooks

    432 pages

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