In the past I have read two Peter Carey novels (Oscar and Lucinda and The True History of the Kelly Gang) and I found them rather boring. With Carey I have a tendency to lose focus on the writing and drift off. Thankfully Jack Maggs is a different story altogether.
It’s London 1837 and Jack Maggs returns from his prison term in Australia in order to settle some dues with Henry Phipps. Upon arriving he finds out that Phipps is not there and is hired at the Buckle residence as footman. As soon as Maggs is hired he is thrown into a maelstrom of deceit, hidden relationships, the supernatural and certain secrets, most which affect his destiny throughout the novel and ultimately surprise the reader in the process.
After researching on the background of the novel I found out that ‘Jack Maggs’ is a sort of tribute to Charles Dickens ‘Great Expectations’ Now I confess that I have never read it so I don’t know how it compares but as a stand-alone novel I found ‘Jack Maggs’ to be highly addictive. Carey does not tell you a straight story, instead the novel give you new secrets about the characters pasts so in order to find out how the book develops you have to continue reading to the last chapter, where everything is revealed.
I also liked the way Carey made his characters realistic. I guarantee that you will not root for any characters as they all have their good and bad sides. In reality every human has their quirks and this is brought out. Carey has a way of presenting his protagonists as innocent people but slowly turning nasty towards the last few chapters.
Really there’s nothing left to say but if you do think of picking up this wonderful little book make sure you have some time one your hands, it’s one of those novels that will keep you glued to your seat! (in fact I was picking it up at every available moment)