Jack Maggs

Carey is usually busy reimagining the history of his native Australia in a mystical fashion (the current film Oscar & Lucinda is based on his 1988 novel). But Jack Maggs finds him nimbly evoking the dank streets of Charles Dickens’ London with a mini-soap opera of dastardly deeds. The tale of Maggs, good-hearted convict; Tobias Oates, cowardly man of science and letters; and Percy Buckle, ex-grocer and nouveau riche control freak who hasn’t quite left his vulgarity behind, provides enough of a mystery to entertain but frustratingly lacks the surreal edge of Carey’s previous works. B-

Jack Maggs
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