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My Life as a Fake | [Peter Carey]

My Life as a Fake

In the 1950s poet Christopher Chubb composes a body of sexually charged poems. Chubb then dupes a trendy literary magazine into believing the poems were composed by the late Bob McCorkle, an undiscovered genius. But the trick backfires, and soon Chubb finds himself tormented by the very monster he creates. Decades later, a literary editor named Sarah Wode-Douglass begins peeling back the layers of the Chubb mystery in, of all places, Malaysia, where the reclusive poet remains in hiding.
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Publisher's Summary

Two-time Booker Prize-winner Peter Carey, author of True History of the Kelly Gang, shows again why he is one of the most acclaimed writers in the world with this ambitious novel. My Life as a Fake is his brilliantly fictionalized spin on the greatest literary hoax in Australia's colorful history.

In the 1950s poet Christopher Chubb composes a body of sexually charged poems. Chubb then dupes a trendy literary magazine into believing the poems were composed by the late Bob McCorkle, an undiscovered genius. But the trick backfires, and soon Chubb finds himself tormented by the very monster he creates. Decades later, a literary editor named Sarah Wode-Douglass begins peeling back the layers of the Chubb mystery in, of all places, Malaysia, where the reclusive poet remains in hiding.

With its breathtaking scope and limitless inventiveness, My Life as a Fake is a triumph of the imagination. Carey's masterful tale receives a sparkling narration by Susan Lyons, who provides authentic and compelling voices for the full cast of vivid characters.

©2003 Peter Carey; (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

"Hypnotic novel of personal and artistic obsession....The tale is a tour de force....As so often before, this extravagantly gifted writer has created something bewilderingly original and powerful." (Publishers Weekly)
"Delectably suspenseful and wildly inventive, Carey's spellbinding modern Gothic is a shrewd and seductive inquiry into the diabolical dimension of the imagination." (Booklist)
"A Nabokovian masterpiece." (Kirkus)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (63 )
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4.0 (15 )
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  •  
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 06-10-06
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 06-10-06 Member Since 2002

    I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Quirky"

    Wow, what divergent opinions about this book – that tells you something right there. I am on the “really liked” side of the fence. Yes indeedy, the novel is unbelievable – more power to it. It is fiction – not biography. The writing is good, the characters (although overshadowed by the plot) are interesting, and the plot is intriguing. This is my second Peter Carey novel (“Jack Maggs” was my first). I liked “Jack Maggs” but enjoyed “My Life as a Fake” significantly more. This is a very odd book and is likely not for everyone – it isn’t a light summer read. The story is a bit dark, but still endowed with humanity. I truly loved the ambiguity of all of the characters. The impossibility to connect with the characters is (oddly enough) one of the most surprising and endearing charms of this book.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deena Burlington, VT, United States 11-24-04
    Deena Burlington, VT, United States 11-24-04

    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside a dog it is too dark to read. ~Groucho Marx

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    4
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    "A wonderful book by a wonderful writer"

    I find Carey's writing captivating in its ability to evoke totally the world of its main characters, and this book has that quality in spades. The feel of Sarah's obsession with Chubb's story and even the smells and sounds of Malaysia swept me up and carried me through a pretty dark story. This reader gives theatrical life and character to the voices of the book, rendering a play-like quality that I found convincing and very pleasurable to listen to. This was one of those books that, despite its darkness and mystery, I was sorry to stop "living in" when it was over. I felt I had visited another country both metaphorically, through immersion in these very original character's minds, and geographically, through the extraordinary evocation of place.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Jersey City, NJ, United States 11-28-08
    Michael Jersey City, NJ, United States 11-28-08 Member Since 2006

    Audiobooks are a big part of my life.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An Original "Fake""

    I'm still not quite sure what to make of this novel, which I found irritating and yet oddly compelling. None of the characters, most of whom are "fakes" to one degree or another, is appealing, but their stories (and there are stories within stories within stories here) are intriguing. The literary mystery that drives the plot kept me listening to the end, despite some stomach-turning plot twists and the posh British narrator, whom I found both annoying and yet perfectly cast as the obsessive central character. It's that kind of book: not exactly likable, and yet engaging. Peter Carey, winner of two Booker prizes, is a terrific writer.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sammy Durham, NC, USA 04-11-04
    Sammy Durham, NC, USA 04-11-04
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    "Don't bother!"

    This book was not worth the time investment. The characters and plot were unbelievable and it was impossible for the reader to connect with or care about them. I appreciate the author's efforts to make the language and dialogue "authentic" and the narrator's use of various accents, but all the little colloquialisms were annoying and distracting. I was listening to this book while we were on a road trip and I was usually glad when I could manage to fall asleep through parts of the book!

    17 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark D. Morrison Marietta GA United States 05-03-14
    Mark D. Morrison Marietta GA United States 05-03-14 Member Since 2011

    MDMAtl

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    "Wow I am glad that is over"
    Any additional comments?

    When you pay the $15/mo membership, you feel like you must listen to everything you buy. I really wish that I had that 10 hours and month's credit back.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lucido Livonia, NY, United States 03-18-12
    Lucido Livonia, NY, United States 03-18-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Superb narration makes book even better"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. Peter Carey is a beautiful writer - the book is worth it just for the skill Cary demonstrates. It's colorful and strong on sense of place. Use of language and in particular slang is superb. But best of all is Susan Lyons' narration. Hard to believe anything could improve Peter Carey, but she did it. I thought her reading was a tour de force.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The narrator's performance combined with the colorful, fanciful story. Which, by the way, is wickedly funny.


    What does Susan Lyons bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I would never have heard the accents, some of slang I would not even have known how to pronounce. She seems to move with ease from posh British to slangy Aussie.
    Also, Carey doesn't use quotation marks, which I find offputting to read. WIth Lyons doing the work, I didn't have to wonder who is saying what. Her voices for each different character were so distinctive it was obvious who was talking.

    She's so marvelous that I'm looking for other books narrated by her. She read the female part in Peter Robinson's newest, Before the Poison. I didn't like that book, but Lyons's performance was the one thing I did like.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I would have if I could have. I certainly switched on my iPod every minute I had the chance. I also often rewound to hear parts again because I got such a kick out of Lyons.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andre Ithaca, NY, United States 03-29-05
    Andre Ithaca, NY, United States 03-29-05 Member Since 2003
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    "Spiteful, ridiculous, meaningless story"

    The plot concerns bickering between poets, and between poets and editors. The whole thing is overdone and senseless. Not at all recommended

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
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