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Theft: A Love Story Hardcover – 1 Jun 2006

26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber; First Edition edition (1 Jun. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571231470
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571231478
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 2.5 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,197,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'A funny, gorgeous steal of a book.' -- Ali Smith, Sunday Telegraph

Book Description

A novel of brotherly love and loathing from twice winner of the Booker Prize

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Roland F. on 14 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
Peter Carey's "Theft: A Love Story" is a literary tour-de-force, a brilliant book, a witty spoof on the art world, a tale of two brothers and a story about love, a story taking us from Australia to Japan and to New York, to sum it up: a magnificent book.
How often do you find yourself multiply re-reading sentences, phrases, even pages- not for the sake of understanding it, but out of sheer joy of re-enjoying the just-read phrases, sentences and pages. Not all too often, I would think. Peter Carey's writing is so exuberantly enjoyable, that there is actually no way avoiding multiple re-reading, enjoying the prose melt on your tongue. Scenes, sentences, phrases, which I just wanted to read to my friends, but where to start, each and every page is just full of excerpts you want to share with others.
"Theft: A Love Story" is the tale of two brothers, one of them a previously well known painter, now taking care of his art dealer's offbeat located home, also taking care of his huge and "slow" brother Hugh. It's a tale of love too, of brotherly love- they just don't seem to be able to live with each other, but obviously can't live without each other either. The story is told in turn (chapterwise) by the two brothers, and although both are rather huffy, grumpy characters (brothers all the way), who both really seem to have a ball verbally whacking each other, it is, due to master ventriloquist Peter Carey's intriguing prose, easy to recognize, whose narrative we are reading at that moment. Of course, the "Love Story" mentioned as un undertitle is the love story of Marlene (who walks into the lives of Michael and Hugh one rainy night, starting off the story there) and Michael.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By neverendings on 22 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
Butcher Bones is an artist who has fallen from grace and unfortunately also out of fashion. He is divorced, has no income, and all of his paintings are being held hostage by his ex-wife, also known as 'the alimony whore'. He must also take care of his younger brother, Hugh, whose mental instability only adds to the problems they share. The two brothers have been offered a place to stay by an art collector, but of course, it's not really the magnanimous offer it appears to be.

One day, a stranger from the city turns up to value a painting owned by a neighbouring farmer. This stranger just happens to be an attractive female called Marlene, who with her contacts in the art world, and Butcher's talent proceeds to set in motion a convoluted chain of events involving art fraud, deception, and - potentially - love.

The story is told in alternating chapters by Butcher and Hugh (also known as Slow) Bones. Hugh is a great character - much easier to like than the artist - and Hugh's chapters add much needed humour to the story. His chapters let slip how he deliberately and inadvertently helps and hinders all the plans concocted by Marlene and Butcher. Despite the fact that Hugh often makes life difficult, there are still some touching moments between the two brothers which adds an extra dimension to the story. As love stories go, it's not a patch on 'Oscar and Lucinda', but it's an entertaining diversion, all the same.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Red Rock Bookworm TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 19 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback
Take a little bit of the movie Dominick & Eugene, plus a pinch of Of Mice and Men, throw in a dash of Les Miserables add a magnificent high-stakes art theft, murder and an international crime investigation and you get just a tip of the magnificent iceberg called THEFT: A LOVE STORY. This is the story of individual identity that explores the relationship between Michael "Butcher" Boone, a has-been Australian artist just released from the slammer and his mentally impaired two hundred twenty pound brother, Hugh.

The story unfolds in alternating chapters related by the two brothers, each offering their point of view - one wildly ranting and pretentious and the other achingly literal. Similar in theme to another book I read recently called THE ART FORGER it examines the very nature of art, its validity and valuation. With descriptive writing oozing from its pages, THEFT is filled with language that is grousing, earthy and crude as it amusingly addresses items as mundane as farting and bad breath, plus an assortment of other "stinky" items while in reality painting its story on a much large canvas. What appears at the outset to be just another run of the mill story of zealous but washed-up artist falling for a femme-fatale art appraiser/valuator is in reality a good hard look at the "fashion" of art, of what's in, what's out, and what's saleable in the art world, while addressing the question of why the theft of a piece of art can suddenly increase its value. Ultimately, it seems that the value of any piece of art is whatever the consumer is willing to pay for it and that self-invention is the order of the day.

This is my first venture into Peter Carey country and I was pleasantly surprised.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 14 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
Very rarely do I get to the end of a book and want to start reading it all over again - I did here. This is a wonderfully entertaining novel - funny, tender, witty, clever and utterly compelling. The plot concerns the theft of a painting and the manufacture of several others. Michael Boone, known as Butcher Bones, is a painter of great talent who has unaccountably fallen out of fashion in his native Australia. Added to which, he has recently divorced and has had most of his recent work sequestered as "marital assets". He was in prison for attempting to take some of these paintings back, but is now released and is loaned a studio and house by his patron, Jean-Paul Milan, in the wilds of Northern New South Wales, and there he is to live, caring for his huge, mentally unstable brother Hugh. Then, in the midst of a flood, appears the miraculously beautiful, Marlene Leibowitz, soon to be the catalyst for a whole realm of other problems.

The book is written in alternating chapters from the point of view of Butcher and his brother Hugh. Hugh, given to capital letters in carefully selected parts of sentences, is a tremendous creation. Though he misses much of what is ostensibly going on, he pursues his own logic with perfect insight. He is wonderful. He reminds me of the great invention of John Kennedy Toole, the remarkable Ignatius J Riley, in his novel A Confederacy of Dunces.

In this book, character is all, but it has other attributes, not least a plot concerning art thefts, and the droit moral (power of authentification) to the whole oeuvre of a past-master of modern art named Leibowitz (Marlene's ex-husband's father).
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