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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surreal comedy, heart rending tragedy
Illywhacker is an Australian word for a con-man. The books' illywhacker, and narrator, is Herbert Badgery, who suffers the fate of many dishonest people. Writing from his old age of 139, he weaves us an extraordinary tale of his life as reptile catcher, car salesman and aviator. A chinaman teaches him how to become invisible, a useful skill when out in the bush. His...
Published on 9 July 2003 by I. Viehoff

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3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed after Oscar and Lucinda
I loved Oscar and Lucinda and immediately bought all his other novels. This was the second I read after O&L, although it's an earlier novel. His first, I beleive. I started by loving this one, However, I doubt I would have read any more Pater Carey, had I read this novel first. There were really three books within the book and I got a little disheartened after the first...
Published 10 months ago by amazon woman


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surreal comedy, heart rending tragedy, 9 July 2003
By 
I. Viehoff "iviehoff" (Chalfont St Giles, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Illywhacker (Paperback)
Illywhacker is an Australian word for a con-man. The books' illywhacker, and narrator, is Herbert Badgery, who suffers the fate of many dishonest people. Writing from his old age of 139, he weaves us an extraordinary tale of his life as reptile catcher, car salesman and aviator. A chinaman teaches him how to become invisible, a useful skill when out in the bush. His aviation attracts him a lovely wife, but married life is less than satisfactory, ending in tragedy. And so we move on to the life of his son, sent off as a student to the big city, consorting with communists and jews, and then setting up as a pet shop to make ends meet. The tragedy carries on.
Within the context of the book, we find ourselves asking how much of this conman's story is "true". It leaves you wondering, and that is really the key to the book.
Its a toss-up whether my favourite Australian novel is this, or Tim Winton's Cloudstreet. In both books, the Australian accent jumps off the page at you. Among Carey's other books, my literary friends prefer Oscar and Lucinda, perhaps because it is more perfectly formed, a typical Booker Prize winner. But I find Illywhacker funnier, more exciting, more original.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars turn-off-the-phone-lock-the-doors-the-Illywhacker-arrived, 30 Jun 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Illywhacker (Paperback)
You cannot help falling in love with the Illywhacher, a tale that takes shape in the mind.. vividly coloured with classic tales that take the reader into the magical and enchanting world of Herbert Bagery. Herbert Bagery's story is entertaining, funny and exciting, Carey's simply a comic genius! If he were living next door, I'd fall in love with him, too. This book manages to give you a sense of the real battler inside of everyone. It's a monster journey, the epic tale of an life of 139 years of trickery, fraud and deception. Beg, steal or borrow, you MUST read it!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Herbert the misunderstood philanthropist., 2 May 2008
By 
Andrew Sheldon "mrgolighltly" (WhitbyUK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Illywhacker (Paperback)
I think that simply to dismiss Herbert as "dishonest" is to miss the central theme of this tale. The one thing which many a comedian, romancer or flim-flammer has in common is their desire simply to be loved. Thus Herbert is more to be pitied and admired by turns than scolded men of his ilk who afford the rest of us the chance to escape the humdrum and enter their carefully woven web of the warming fellowship of the fantastical can have a quid of mine anyday of the week. Read it, its dinkum.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, really fun, 19 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Illywhacker (Paperback)
I certainly can't express what, but I think Carey is some sort of genius and manages to point to profound truths while writing an amazingly fun book. Also gives an insight into the storey behind modern Australia, although I don't know if it could be called educational.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A splendid stroll through Australian history, 15 Dec 2013
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When is a long book not too long? When you get half way through and have no desire for it to end. In Illywhacker the imaginative Mr Carey takes his characters through (at least) three generations of Australian history. The characters aren't all plausible - which is part of the fun - but the historical backdrop is, which provides a great structure for this entertaining story. I can never understand why Carey's average reviews are not higher, as he is undoubtedly one of the best novelists writing today, but, as Herbert Badgery would probably say, there's no accounting for taste.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed after Oscar and Lucinda, 30 Sep 2013
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I loved Oscar and Lucinda and immediately bought all his other novels. This was the second I read after O&L, although it's an earlier novel. His first, I beleive. I started by loving this one, However, I doubt I would have read any more Pater Carey, had I read this novel first. There were really three books within the book and I got a little disheartened after the first one with the plane, which was promising. By the time it got to the mad daughter-in-law and people living in cages, I was looking forward to the end. (Make it stop!!!!). I now have several more more Peter Careys on my Kindle that I have to read. I'm not looking forward to it and really hope that the others come up to my earlier expectations.. I'll give them a try.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but not sure I really understood it, 7 Feb 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Illywhacker (Paperback)
Having loved Oscar and Lucinda, and enjoyed Jack Maggs, I thought I'd try Illywhacker.
I enojyed it, but was left with the feeling that I just hadn't understood it at all.
The story of 139 year old Herbert Badgery (born in 1886)(the reason is explained) and his family, the book covers 80 odd years of his life and loves and the problems he has with his children and grandchildren. It's populated with some wonderful characters, and there are some tremendous passages and ideas in it. But I was left vaguely unsatisfied throughout - I felt there was something I'd missed (and I really didn't get what the ending was about at all).
So if you're a Carey fan, then read it, you'll enjoy it, but anyone who's new to him should start with Oscar and Lucinda - easily his best book.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oz-tastic, 29 May 2001
By A Customer
An excellent book! Takes me back to my happy days wandering aroun areas such as "uluru", formerly known as ayers rock.
I also recommend the mote around Larry Niven's eye.
D. Henderson
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3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Duuuuuuuuulll., 10 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Illywhacker (Paperback)
I loved "The amazing live of Tristan Smith". I can't say the same about this. It's slooooow and uneventful. Although it's beautifully written it lacks a sense of rythm and it just doesn't grip you. You can get away with a book like this only if you're a shalman Rushdi or a Gabriel Garcia Marquez but I think Carey just didn't pull it off. I could have read One hundred years of solitude for another 20 thousand pages but with Illywhaker I just don't think 567 pages are in anyway justifiable. I found it all so boring that it's a wonder how I manage to finnish reading it. Anyway I'll give myself a break from Carey and then I'll give him another chance. I've got "bliss" in the pipeline.
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Illywhacker
Illywhacker by Peter Carey (Paperback - 5 Aug 2004)
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