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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.



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Jun. 23rd, 2009 01:34 pm (UTC)
I very much enjoyed Bliss, but Oscar and Lucinda is my favourite. Loved the end of Illywhacker, but by god it was a slog to get there.
Jun. 23rd, 2009 02:20 pm (UTC)
I loved Illywhacker. I read it on a bus between Sydney and Grafton, which made bits of it very good in conjunction with scenery on the pacific highway.
Jun. 23rd, 2009 04:11 pm (UTC)
i've got a copy. it's disturbingly daunting in its size.
Jun. 23rd, 2009 01:59 pm (UTC)
I love this novel. But then I love all his novels.
Jun. 23rd, 2009 04:13 pm (UTC)
what was the last one like? i thought it looked a bit... i dunno, unappealing.
Jun. 25th, 2009 02:14 pm (UTC)
It is still in my in-pile. The only one I've steered clear of was that one about going to Japan with his son.
Jun. 25th, 2009 03:20 pm (UTC)
i've read that. you're not missing anything--the sydney book he did was interesting, but he wasn't able to duplicate it twice.
Jun. 23rd, 2009 02:19 pm (UTC)
I love early Carey, up to about The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith, after that I started finding it hard to concentrate when reading, and I gave up part of the way through The True History of the Kelly Gang.
Jun. 23rd, 2009 03:20 pm (UTC)
Yep, that's terrible, that book (and I grew up reading about Ned Kelly).
Jun. 23rd, 2009 04:08 pm (UTC)
sweet, i like the one everyone hates!
Jun. 23rd, 2009 04:21 pm (UTC)
The spousal unit loathes it, too.

You're just a big old rebel, reading all that Peter Carey, aint'cha?
Jun. 23rd, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC)
i'm particularly fond of his short stories, actually. he has this one about a mime artist that makes me laugh.
Jun. 25th, 2009 02:16 pm (UTC)
It is interesting - and not often remarked - that the majority of his short fiction is SF (in the broadest sense). As is Bliss.

I've just googled it and I'm amazed to discover that Ray Lawrence has filmed it. I have to see this!
Jun. 25th, 2009 03:20 pm (UTC)
yeah, i knew that. i haven't seen it, but i think lucius shepard told me it was alright.
Jun. 23rd, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
i must admit, there does seem to be a bit of a shift in his interests for the second half (or at least from my far away glance)
Jun. 23rd, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed Wild Sheep Chase and Dance Dance Dance, but on reflection they're certainly lesser works.

I haven't been super-impressed with Murakami's recent novels, but I don't know how much of that is down to him and how much is about the change in translator.
Jun. 25th, 2009 03:21 pm (UTC)
yeah, there seems to have been a bit of a drop with the latest translator. i myself can't tell if it's murakami himself or not--though the last novel did show a lot of promise of him leaving behind some of those old habits, i thought.
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