Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Review: My Life As a Fake by Peter Carey

Australia's infamous Ern Malley literary hoax is the inspiration behind My Life As a Fake Peter Carey's novel from 2003 which tells the story of Bob McCorkle--who comes into being as entirely imagined entity, and lives out the rest of his days as a figure not unlike Frankenstin's monster, a gentle giant who has far more scruples than his weak and somewhat pathetic creator. And the whole thing is bloody brilliant.

The story begins in 1972 with Sarah Wade-Douglas, a London based editor of a poetry journal who is promised with the ultimate scoop, the chance to travel to Kuala Lumpur to meet Christopher Chubb, a failed Australian poet and disgraced literary hoaxer. As Sarah meets with Chubb, she discovers just how terrible this man is haunted by his past--and quite literally--by Bob McCorkle, the fake poet that he made up in the 1940s in a bid to make an old friend and editor that had rejected his work appear foolish. (Ern Malley being, of course, the creation of two conservative poets who wanted to prove that modernist poetry was rubbish. Malley rose to fame after being published in literary journal Angry Penguins.)

Recommended.