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The novel opens as Sarah, the reluctant tourist and editor of The Modern Review, is dragged by a foppish poet-friend, John Slater, to Kuala Lumpur. Sarah is intent on biding her time in her hotel, but a chance encounter with a scabrous reader of Rilke soon transforms Sarah's plans and, ultimately, her life. The reader, the Australian poet Christopher Chubb, is the disgraced initiator of a great literary hoax--the faked poems of the non-existent Bob McCorkle. The McCorkle hoax was Chubb's attempt to bring down a rising poetry editor, David Weiss. When the hoax was exposed, Weiss was believed to have committed suicide. But, living in exile, Chubb has hidden a secret for decades: Bob McCorkle had seemingly materialized in human form, killing Weiss and destroying Chubb's life. Sarah is tantalized by a fragment of supposed McCorkle poetry that Chubb has shared with her. Whether it is a fake or the work of a madman, Sarah believes it is genius. Her obsession, however, drives her and Chubb to the precipice of self-destruction.
The primary story--Chubb's pursuit of McCorkle--lives in the fictional past, and the plot occasionally becomes muddled in the nest of narrators recalling conversations second or third hand. In playing out the McCorkle affair, Careys denouement comes too quickly. If Sarah is transformed, Carey doesn't reveal enough of her in the text. He is mesmerized, as is the reader, by Chubb's horrific tale.
With its small shortcomings, the novel offers a sophisticated interrogation of authorship and fakery and the power of art. Carey avoids simplifying the McCorkle mystery, leaving the reader to puzzle out McCorkle's bizarre incarnation. While My Life as a Fake is frequently entertaining, the atmospheric mystery occasionally glimpses the profound. --Patrick O'Kelley
Not Peter Carey's best, which can be to me amazingly good, but I thought quite entertaining in the main. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Stephen Paulsen
Peter Carey based My Life as a Fake on a real incident in Australia where a writer perpetrated a hoax by publishing the poems of an individual he claimed was dead, but never really... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Archetype
Interesting novel on the magical realism genre, but nothing especially appealing or innovative about it.Published 11 months ago by Robert Williams
Although a Booker Prize winner in 1988 with “Oscar and Lucinda” and “True History of the Kelly Gang” in 2001 Carey’s book is a disappointment insomuch as it is set in the somewhat... Read morePublished 12 months ago by RR
Peter Carey's brilliant novel takes it's title from the earnestly authentic autobiography in verse of one Bob McCorkle, a strange antipodean ubermensch who was born, "at the age of... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Alec Marsh
Confusing at times but the excellent writing leads you through a wonderful read.Published 16 months ago by Harry R. Matthews
I hate this book... I am sad that I wasted my mony on ording it. It was boring and incoherant!Published 18 months ago by SuperShopper
The problem with a 5 point scale for reviews is that scores are so unrefined. I never thought that `i would be awarding such a celebrated author 3 stars. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Rosalind Minett