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Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

"His Illegal Self" by Peter Carey

This novel follows an 8 year old boy, Che,  and is written partly from his perspective and partly from the perspective of his ex-nanny Dial.

Che lives with his wealthy but bohemian grandmother in New York. His parents are American urban guerrillas, outlawed and in hiding. His mother arranges for Dial (who also has a radical past) to take Che from his grandmother for a single hour of agreed contact, but the plans change and Dial takes Che to Philapelphia where Che's mother is killed by the bomb she is making. The grandmother thereupon accuses Dial of kidnapping Che and they go on the run together, ending up in a Hippy-run township in the Australian bush.

The interplay between the 8 year old misunderstanding everything and the framed Dial who resents the way she has been manipulated away from the cushy bourgeois lifestyle she was about to enjoy into the desperate existence of a fugitive in the bush is excellent. Other notable characters include Trevor who rips them off and steals their money and looks after them and tolerates Che's thefts and gives them their money back because after all he is a Hippy who likes to go naked and used to be a Barnados boy who was shipped out to Australia and lived with priests. The hippy lawyer worships Jazz musicians. The head of the hippy neighbourhood hates cats because they kill birds.

And the prose is wonderful. And the ending a surprise in the penultimate paragraph.

So why didn't I want to turn every page?

I think it was just a little too weird. April 2012; 272 pages

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