My Life as a Fake

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Vintage (Random House Australia), 2004 - Australia - 280 pages
MY LIFE AS A FAKE is a fantastical gothic tale, in part inspired by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, about a hoax poet who mysteriously materialises and then pursues, taunts, haunts and otherwise destroys his maker. Two-time Booker prize winning author Peter Carey uses the Ern Malley hoax as a springboard, but the leap he takes is into the realms of richly imagined fiction.Sara, an English poetry editor on holiday in Kuala Lumpur, stumbles upon an Australian, Christopher Chubb, reading Rilke in a bicycle shop. The man shows her a scrap of poetry the like of which she's never seen. She becomes determined to get her hands on the poetry, to publish in (and revive) her ailing poetry journal.Chubb insists that Sara hear his story first. His tale is told over many sittings, and is the central story of MY LIFE AS A FAKE.As a conservative young poet in Melbourne in the 1950s, Chubb decided to teach the country a lesson about pretension and authenticity. Choosing as his target the most avant-garde of the literary magazines, he submitted for publication the entire oeuvre of one Bob McCorkle, a working-class poet of raw power and sexual frankness, conveniently dead at twenty-four and entirely the product of Chubb's imagination. Not only did the magazine fall for the hoax, but its editor was prosecuted for publishing obscenity. At the trial someone uncannily resembling the man in the faked photograph of the invented McCorkle leapt to his feet. At that moment the horrified Chubb was confronted by the malevolent being he had himself manufactured.Peter Carey wickedly and ruefully explores how the phantom poet taunts, haunts and otherwise destroys his maker, pursuing Chubb from Melbourne to the seedy, sweaty, tropical chaos of Kuala Lumpur.An unforgettable follow-up to the spectacularly successful TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG, MY LIFE AS A FAKE has all the Carey trademarks and more- an irresistible narrator, a tragi-comic anti-hero, a world that is so familiar yet utterly strange and disorienting, and a story that keeps you reading way past your bedtime.MY LIFE AS A FAKE is a manic, endearing and penetrating ode to fakery at its most truthful and truth at its most fake, a novel that penetrates to the heart of the alchemy of literature itself.

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MY LIFE AS A FAKE

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The two-time New Zealand Booker winner (The True History of the Kelly Gang, 2000, etc.) traces the honeycombed ramifications of a brazen literary hoax (based on a real incident that occurred in 1943 ... Read full review

My life as a fake: a novel

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Hoping to gain some insight into her parents' troubled marriage, London poetry editor Sarah Wode-Douglass accepts an invitation from novelist and family friend John Slater to accompany him to his ... Read full review

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About the author (2004)

Peter Carey was born in Bacchus Marsh Australia and lives in New York City.


His novels have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize four times and have won it twice (for Oscar and Lucindaand True History of the Kelly Gang). Carey has also won the Commonwealth prize twice and Australia's Miles Franklin three times.

He is an officer of the Order of Australia (AO) and a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Literature and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

In his 28 years living in New York he has produced classic works of Australian literature including True History of the Kelly Gangand A Long Way from Home.


Since 2003 he has been a Distinguished Professor at Hunter College in New York where he is the Executive Director of a highly selective MFA in Creative Writing.


Peter Carey supports the Bushwick literacy group 'Still Waters in a Storm' www.stillwatersinastorm.org, a refuge for immigrant kids in the age of Trump.

He is married to the literary agent Frances Coady.

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