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Bit of a plodder...,
This review is from: Jack Maggs (Paperback)
'Great Expectations' is one of my favourite of the classics, and ever since reading 'The true History of the Kelly Gang' I believe Peter Carey is unsurpassable at his best. So, this post-colonial re-telling of Pip's benefactor, the glorious Magwitch, should have been right up my street.
Well, it was and it wasn't.
Carey manages to get into the heart (and bowels) of Victorian London and his descriptive skill is as sharp as ever. The cast of supporting characters are appropriately Dickensian but have more layers, courtesy of the modern writer's scalpel pen. But the story doesn't do enough for me. It plodded along. it was a struggle to get through the pages. No doubt Carey wanted to redress the balance regarding one of the first stories of an early (fictional) Australian in the same way he empathised with the realities of Ned Kelly's life. But Jack Maggs is not a man of enough action. He is held under another's sway and the back-story suggests this is nothing new. Pip's re-birthing as the cold-hearted, homosexual cad Mr Phipps is grist to the post-colonial mill. It further victimises Maggs, a touch too much.
Interesting but flawed.