I read these stories twelve years ago when they were first published and have meant to re-read them for a while. Having just got round to it I am amazed at how fresh and relevant they seem to today, encompassing rampant capitalism, environmental disaster, body dissatisfactions, and generally reading as if they could have been written yesterday. Within a few words of every story I was remembering theme, narrative, events - surely after twelve years that's remarkable (and I haven't got a particularly good memory).
These stories repaid my nagging wish to re-read them - I was as captivated and impressed as I remember on first discovering them. Carey's work is unique in its ability to portray complex psychologies and situations, difficult ideas; intellectually he is just as sharp as McEwan, Barnes, and Amis. I relish the playfulness of some of his ideas - the fat revolutionaries, the body-dismorphic guerrillas, the murderous capitalist entrepreneurs (though maybe they aren't quite so playful) while enjoying the artful muscularity of his prose. These stories are often quite disturbing, even grim, but I was hooked on them.
As a teenager, I found Peter Carey's The Fat Man In History by complete accident on my mum's shelf and the work absolutely flawed me. I didn't realise that stories like this existed, it led me to Burrows, Kafka, Gogol. Carey has produced mostly amazing work ever since, but these short stories and Bliss remain my favourites. Having them all in one book is an extraordinary trove.
these stories are amazing, generally on a dystpoian theme they are seemingly as relevant every year that passes since i first read them i have lent this book to countless people and they all enjoyed it too
i LOVE peter carey but was overall disappointed with this book - i found the stories all a little too far-fetched and futuristic for my tastes. as always, everything was beautifully written but unless you are a lover of short stories in general, or of un-realistic futuristic stuff, then i'd recommend avoiding it and sticking to the novels.