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Theft: A Love Storyby Peter Carey
Synopses & Reviews
Ferocious and funny, penetrating and exuberant, Theft is two-time Booker Prize-winner Peter Carey’s master class on the things people will do for art, for love . . . and for money.
“I don’t know if my story is grand enough to be a tragedy, although a lot of shitty stuff did happen. It is certainly a love story but that did not begin until midway through the shitty stuff, by which time I had not only lost my eight-year-old son, but also my house and studio in Sydney where I had once been famous as a painter could expect in his own backyard. . .”
So begins Peter Carey’s highly charged and lewdly funny new novel. Told by the twin voices of the artist, Butcher Bones, and his “damaged two-hundred-and-twenty-pound brother” Hugh, it recounts their adventures and troubles after Butcher’s plummeting prices and spiralling drink problem force them to retreat to New South Wales. Here the formerly famous artist is reduced to being a caretaker for his biggest collector, as well as nurse to his erratic brother.
Then the mysterious Marlene turns up in Manolo Blahniks one stormy night. Claiming that the brothers’ friend and neighbour owns an original Jacques Liebovitz, she soon sets in motion a chain of events that could be the making or ruin of them all.
Displaying Carey’s extraordinary flare for language, Theft is a love poem of a very different kind. Ranging from the rural wilds of Australia to Manhattan via Tokyo – and exploring themes of art, fraud, responsibility and redemption – this great novel will make you laugh out loud.
From the Hardcover edition.
Reduced to living in the remote country house of his largest collector and serving as caretaker for his volatile and childlike brother Hugh, Michael "Butcher" Boone, a once famous painter, finds his delicately balanced world undermined by the arrival of an enigmatic young woman named Marlene who sets in motion a series of events that will forever alter all of their lives. 75,000 first printing.
From the two-time Booker Prize–winning author and recipient of the Commonwealth Prize comes this new novel about obsession, deception, and redemption, at once an engrossing psychological suspense story and a work of highly charged, fiendishly funny literary fiction.
Michael—a.k.a. “Butcher”—Boone is an ex–“really famous” painter: opinionated, furious, brilliant, and now reduced to living in the remote country house of his biggest collector and acting as caretaker for his younger brother, Hugh, a damaged man of imposing physicality and childlike emotional volatility. Alone together they’ve forged a delicate and shifting equilibrium, a balance instantly destroyed when a mysterious young woman named Marlene walks out of a rainstorm and into their lives on three-inch Manolo Blahnik heels. Beautiful, smart, and ambitious, she’s also the daughter-in-law of the late great painter Jacques Liebovitz, one of Butcher’s earliest influences. She’s sweet to Hugh and falls in love with Butcher, and they reciprocate in kind. And she sets in motion a chain of events that could be the making—or the ruin—of them all.
Told through the alternating points of view of the brothers—Butcher’s urbane, intelligent, caustic observations contrasting with Hugh’s bizarre, frequently poetic, utterly unique voice—Theft reminds us once again of Peter Carey’s remarkable gift for creating indelible, fascinating characters and a narrative as gripping as it is deliriously surprising.
About the Author
A two-time Booker Prize-winner and two-time recipient of the Commonwealth Prize, Peter Carey is the author of eight novels, a collection of short stories, and two books of non-fiction. Born in Australia, he now lives in New York City.
From the Hardcover edition.
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