The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith

The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith If you are not a citizen of Voorstand you may not be familiar with the strange case of Tristan Smith and his illegal appropriation of Bruder Mouse Even if you are a citizen of faraway Efica you will

  • Title: The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith
  • Author: Peter Carey
  • ISBN: 9780571174935
  • Page: 318
  • Format: Paperback
  • If you are not a citizen of Voorstand, you may not be familiar with the strange case of Tristan Smith and his illegal appropriation of Bruder Mouse Even if you are a citizen of faraway Efica, you will only have heard rumours about the juggling, the somersaulting, the Burro Plasse tunnel, and the motel on the borderHere, for the first time, is the truth about Tristan SmIf you are not a citizen of Voorstand, you may not be familiar with the strange case of Tristan Smith and his illegal appropriation of Bruder Mouse Even if you are a citizen of faraway Efica, you will only have heard rumours about the juggling, the somersaulting, the Burro Plasse tunnel, and the motel on the borderHere, for the first time, is the truth about Tristan Smith This fully annotated edition follows Tristan s career from his birth in the Republic of Efica in the year 371 to the present day.

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    About " Peter Carey "

  • Peter Carey

    Librarian Note There is than one author in the database with this name See this thread for information.Peter Carey was born in Australia in 1943 He was educated at the local state school until the age of eleven and then became a boarder at Geelong Grammar School He was a student there between 1954 and 1960 after Rupert Murdoch had graduated and before Prince Charles arrived In 1961 he studied science for a single unsuccessful year at Monash University He was then employed by an advertising agency where he began to receive his literary education, meeting Faulkner, Joyce, Kerouac and other writers he had previously been unaware of He was nineteen For the next thirteen years he wrote fiction at night and weekends, working in many advertising agencies in Melbourne, London and Sydney After four novels had been written and rejected The Fat Man in History a short story collection was published in 1974 This slim book made him an overnight success From 1976 Carey worked one week a month for Grey Advertising, then, in 1981 he established a small business where his generous partner required him to work only two afternoons a week Thus between 1976 and 1990, he was able to pursue literature obsessively It was during this period that he wrote War Crimes, Bliss, Illywhacker, Oscar and Lucinda Illywhacker was short listed for the Booker Prize Oscar and Lucinda won it Uncomfortable with this success he began work on The Tax Inspector In 1990 he moved to New York where he completed The Tax Inspector He taught at NYU one night a week Later he would have similar jobs at Princeton, The New School and Barnard College During these years he wrote The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith, Jack Maggs, and True History of the Kelly Gang for which he won his second Booker Prize He collaborated on the screenplay of the film Until the End of the World with Wim Wenders In 2003 he joined Hunter College as the Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing In the years since he has written My Life as a Fake, Theft, His Illegal Self and Parrot and Oliver in America shortlisted for 2010 Man Booker Prize.


  • Reading Peter Carey is always a gamble. The bower-bird nature of his source material, where his current obsessions - often an aspect of the creative life - is unpicked to the point of immersion, sometimes comes off and sometimes doesn't. His books are quilts - glass and gambling, painting and forgery, ern malley and the botany of Malaysia. Does that last one jar a little?You bet it did. My Life as a Fake was the worst Carey book I've suffered, a hopeless melange of Frankenstein, Carey's nostalgi [...]

  • Whilst the world-building that went into it was interesting and Carey's technical ability is always at the very least serviceable throughout the novel, I just wasn't really engaged much in any other capacity and was left with nothing more than a sour-taste in my mouth and a profound sense of apathy for the entire endeavour. It just wasn't my cup of tea, at all.

  • Funny, sad, thrilling and thought-provoking. To thoroughly comprehend this book, it probably helps to be Australian: although set in mythical nations Efica and Voorstand, it quite brilliantly explores the love-hate relationship which Australians have with American culture. However, the book never takes itself too seriously, and moves easily between comedy, tragedy and adventure. A book not to be taken on holiday, because you won't be able to put it down.

  • This book is SO GOOD. The world Carey creates, the two countries, Efica and Voorstand, the lingo, the cultures. The themes of love, ambition, identity. The characters. The scale of time. I see I am resorting to a list of nouns, but these are all the things I that were so wonderfully notable about this book. Peter Carey ftw.

  • It is an odd book. I really like Peter Carey, but I'm not quite sure what he was trying to get at in this story. Still, it is well written, with magical elements and a picture of a weird world, and it is written as a quest which I always like. It somehow seems like it owes something to the Tin Drum by Gunter Grass, but maybe because they both feature deformed midgets.

  • I stopped reading it after the first half because I found it a bit tedious and not nearly as good as his other books. I pretty much never stop reading a book but I found myself just wanting to read something else instead and life's too short.

  • A strange and twisted novel set in a non-existent place yet imbued with a ring of familiarity despite its fantastical set-up and singularly mal-formed title character. We never exactly what is wrong with him, but the story doesn't suffer, it's a very interesting work.

  • Strange book that pretty much describes all of Carey's work. This one though didn't capture my imagination like the others had.

  • Odd book. This was suggested to me by someone because of another book that I loved and I found this did not match up for me.

  • If the varied works of Peter Carey have a unifying thread, it’s his fascination with what it means to be Australian, and Australia’s relationship with the rest of the world. Illywhacker, his second novel, was the first to thoroughly explore this theme, covering three generations of an Australian family across the 20th century, their country in thrall first to the British and later to the Americans. The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith, written a few years after Carey moved permanently to New Yo [...]

  • I am a Peter Carey fan, but this book is a disappointment. Seems Carey has taken an evening course in culture studies (or maybe he teaches one) and has written a study text. Plenty of grievance and victimhood here. Cultural hegemony abounds. A book to launch a thousand dreary essays.

  • Certainly not the easiest novel to wade through, but it does reward the patient reader with its blend of whimsy, political allegory, alternative/parallel worlds, dystopian satire and vivid, highly surreal imagery and crackling dialogue (with an alternative vernacular that takes some getting used to). Think John Irving and Russel Hoban filtered through the lens of Terry Gilliam. It's a complex, sprawling, coming of age tale, told in the first person by the titular "hero", Tristan Smith, a horribl [...]

  • Unlike most picaresques, Tristan Smith begins in a strange place and ends in an even weirder one. This quality is characteristic of Peter Carey's work (Bliss and The Tax Inspector come to mind), and it has the spine-prick effect of displacing the fulsome, rich, slightly-though-appreciably alternate future world of Tristan, in which Efica is a New Zealand-sized version of Canada to Voorstand's USA (of course, they both seem to be located in the South Pacific). In other words, the tingling disloca [...]

  • I had been meaning to read something by Peter Carey when I found this at the Friends of the Library book sale and was intrigued because the premise reminded me of Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker, Like Hoban's post-apocalyptic novel this one has an invented language, though it doesn't seem as pervasive as the argot of Riddley Walker and there is the use of puppets and miracle type entertainments as a central part of the cultures' religions. The book set on my bedside shelf for several years before [...]

  • THE UNUSUAL LIFE OF TRISTAN SMITH. (1994). Peter Carey. ***. Carey has created an alternative universe complete with maps and an annotated language, peopled with characters and institutions much like the ones we are familiar with, but in a place we don’t know. The country we start out in is Efica, a nation that consists of eighteen islands. To the north (I think) of Efica is another country, Voorstand. Voorstand is the more developed of the two countries and seems to hold sway over Efica in wa [...]

  • Peter Carey is always good for a set of unusual characters dealing with a host of social, psychological, and political problems. He has a unique ability to communicate with close sensitivity some of the cultural nuances within Australian society, as well as cultural clashes with countries like the U.S. (born and raised in Australia, having lived in New York since the 1990s). He's written fictional accounts that take on important issues such as the sacking of the Whitlam government and the possib [...]

  • I've never read a Peter Carey novel that I haven't enjoyed. He's a brilliant stylist with an great ear for language (of the spoken and written varieties) and he can spin a good yarn. "The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith" is no exception. I spent a while trying to figure out if its setting was intended to be futuristic or just an alternate reality present. I believe it's the latter--a conceit that allows Carey ample opportunity to poke fun at what I read as USA stand-in. Of course, he also satirize [...]

  • Peter Carey is always good value for money, so inventive and packs so much in. This novel had much that I loved - the invented pidgin French and Dutch slang words and dialects were a joy, so clever! and some lovely, poignant characterisation Felicity, Wally, Roxanna But the character of Tristan Smith himself eluded me I couldn't get to the heart of who he was. Nor could I ever picture him clearly, despite the numerous attempts to describe his unnerving features I could never really SEE him. [...]

  • Not all is as it seems in this hefty but not huge novel by Peter Carey, who is still considered one of our (English language) better writers.Echoing many writers and books, beginning with the "Tristram Shandy" twist in the title, and using the title to understate things--the word 'Unusual' barely begins to describe our novelistic plight---Carey brings us to an imaginary world which is recognizable the way our own image is in a fun house mirror.Using carefully crafted and often biting prose, all [...]

  • I found this book in a cardboard box in a second hand bookstore and bought it for approximately 1 euro. I can't believe someone would throw it away and someone else would decide to sell it for less than a bottle of mineral water. Regardless, it is always like this for me - I accidentally stumble upon the greatest things, greatest writers, greatest music in my life.I am very happy and grateful to have found Peter Carey, who regaled me with the most wonderful picaresque story since the Tin Drum! O [...]

  • Looking at the other reviews this seems a "marmite" book - you either love it or hate.I'm pretty much in the latter, I couldn't relate to any of the characters, the imaginary geography was simply bemusing and I just couldn't warm to the story. Like Carey's other novels, it's excellently written, just wasn't my cup of tea.

  • I gave it about 80 pages and gave up. I got bogged down in the fictitious country, the made up words and the footnotes--god, the footnotes. And the story didn't really grab me. Peter Carey is highly regarded as a writer, but I have yet to find a book of his that I really like.

  • I honestly don't know if I enjoyed this book or not. The world-building is fantastic; the alternate present Care creates is really interesting. The characters were good and interesting, but to be honest I didn't connect to any of them. There didn't seem to be anyone to like in this book.

  • Not sure I can claim to have read this I skimmed it and found myself not completely taken by Tristan, his narrative or the good people of Effica. I supposed that makes me a Sirkus-loving Voorstadian.

  • If John Irving and the guy who wrote the last season of Lost jumped into a time machine that was made out of a cereal box and a fondue fork and went back to 1994 I think they could make this into a story. oh and seriously do you have to mention snot or vomit like every page?

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