My Life as a Fake

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

My Life as a Fake  
MyLifeAsAFake.jpg
1st edition cover
Author(s)Peter Carey
Cover artistJenny Griggs[1]
CountryAustralia
LanguageEnglish
Genre(s)literary
PublisherRandom House
Publication date2006
Media typePrint (Hardback and Paperback)
Pages269
ISBN1-74051-256-1, 1741664829, 9781740512565, 9781741664829
OCLC Number224742366
Preceded byTrue History of the Kelly Gang
Followed byTheft: A Love Story
 
Jump to: navigation, search
My Life as a Fake  
MyLifeAsAFake.jpg
1st edition cover
Author(s)Peter Carey
Cover artistJenny Griggs[1]
CountryAustralia
LanguageEnglish
Genre(s)literary
PublisherRandom House
Publication date2006
Media typePrint (Hardback and Paperback)
Pages269
ISBN1-74051-256-1, 1741664829, 9781740512565, 9781741664829
OCLC Number224742366
Preceded byTrue History of the Kelly Gang
Followed byTheft: A Love Story

My Life as a Fake is a 2003 novel by Australian writer Peter Carey based on the Ern Malley hoax of 1943, in which two poets created a fictitious poet, Ern Malley, and submitted poems in his name to the literary magazine Angry Penguins.

The novel was inspired by the idea of "a 24-year-old hoax brought to life - original, angry, multilingual, learned. He was interested in what the being would know instinctively and what he would be ignorant of. How would the creator deal with his creation, and the creation with his creator?"[2] He realised as he was writing the book that he was not interested in James McAuley and Harold Stewart who perpetrated the hoax but in "magical thinking".[2]

It is told as a first-person narrative from the point of view of a young woman editing a literary magazine, and is presented as her account of her encounter with the perpetrator of the hoax after many years. However, it was originally written in the voice of "the created being".[2] Carey takes a number of significant liberties in his novelization, not the least of which is his decision to make the Ern Malley counterpart (called Bob McCorkle in the story) an actual person who ends up haunting his "creator."

Themes

A major theme of the novel is the ambiguity of reality, as the reader must wrestle with the question of whether the man claiming to be Bob McCorkle is a maniac with an identity delusion, a hoaxer's hoaxer, a coincidence, or a phantasm called into being by his creator. As a discussion of and commentary on modern poetry, particularly Australian poetry, the novel makes many references to Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, W. H. Auden, and Walt Whitman, who can be seen to have had an influence on Carey.

Awards and nominations

References

  1. ^ Wyndham, Susan (2004) Book's got the look, The Sydney Morning Herald 15 September 2004
  2. ^ a b c Moran, Jennifer (2003) Carey's powerful plea for novel as act of imagination, The Canberra Times, 21 August 2003, p. 3