His Illegal Self, By Peter Carey

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A consumate plotter, the multi-Booker-winner Peter Carey packs a lot of distance and a great deal of stuff into this teeming novel about a boy's childhood.

Che is only eight years old when he is plucked from comfortable New York and his well-to-do grandmother and taken on a journey to a hippie commune in Australia, via revolution and confusion, by a woman he wishes were his mother.

Told in the voices of Che and his putative carer, Dial, the novel asks more questions than it answers about love and violence and longing for a place. In Carey's capable hands that is no bad thing.

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