Sonntag, 25. November 2007

Jack Maggs by Peter Carey

Jack Maggs is a novel by Peter Carey that is roughly addressing Great Expectations. It focuses on the story of the convict Jack Maggs searching for Henry Phipps, a boy who gave him food when he was on the way to the prison ship headed for Australia. The book follows several characters an plotlines. There is Maggs own story, written by him for Henry to read. There is the story of the other inmates of the house Maggs ends up in as a footman to bide his time until Phipps returns. He meets Mercy, a servant girl, whose story swings from sad to heroic to pathetic. And there is the story of Tobias Oates and his family, who keenly resemble Charles Dickens and his family. So in a way it is the story about what might have inspired an author like Dickens to write a story like Great Expectations, which persons might have influenced him and so on.

The book is a good read because of these different intertwined plotlines. I guess if I had known Great Expectations and a bit more about Dickens' life even more details would have been familiar to me. But I found the second part a little long, and the ending (a postcolonial moralizing) a bit too artificial. So it's 6 of 10 magnets.