Harry Joy was to die three times, but it was his first death which was to have the greatest effect on him, and it is his first death which we shall now witness.
So begins Peter Carey's first novel, Bliss, which I began reading tonight.
It's not the first Carey book I've read. I'm, perhaps oddly since I'm not usually a fan of novels that win awards, rather fond of his The True History of the Kelly Gang, in which Carey showed how well he could mutate his style to capture the voice that he needed. He did a similar thing in Theft, where he switched between voices, though I didn't like the voice of the mentally challenged brother and I thought the crime aspect of it to be somewhat lacking. But, even then, Carey had a fine stylist touch to his writing and the book was engaging. And Care';s voice has always been strong and defined throughout his other novels. That voice is there at the start of Bliss, and I'll be curious to see how it plays out over the book, whether it stands up throughout, or if it has rough patches, if some of the finesse is missing, and so forth. Take from it what you will, but there's a certain enjoyment to be had in early novels when you can compare them to later ones. You get to see the author's ticks, tricks, and twitches, and how he or she has used or abused them throughout the years.
Of course, sometimes it's the early novels that are the strongest, and the author, in his or her later novels, tends to just repeat themselves. To a degree, I think Haruki Murakami has done that. Of course, with that said, Murakami's first novels aren't very good--it wasn't until Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World and the Wind Up Bird Chronicle that he became interesting, at least to me (it was Norwegian Wood that reportedly made his name, though I think it's a very simple and uninteresting novel).
Anyhow, random connection between the two, but I enjoy both authors, and that's good enough for me.