Peter Carey magic

There’s nothing quite like a new book from a favourite novelist. Ever since Illywacker and Oscar and Lucinda (yeah, Ok, that was 25 years ago) I’ve been a Peter Carey fan, although he hasn’t always lived up to that stunnning early promise. But Amnesia, his latest, comes pretty close. It’s got an intricate, fascinating story, cleverly told. It’s got a serious interest in Australian politics, which treats rebels and eccentrics as being worthy of serious attention. But best of all, it’s got verbal fireworks in the actual writing, stunning little bits of excitement that you can’t ignore. This is the start of a description of a school that the heroine attends:

“Bell Street High School was rotting, neglected, faction-ridden, falling apart. In heavy rain the power points exploded, sending extraordinary blue sheets of Pentecostal fire dancing above the pupils’ heads….” Don’t you feel like reading on?