The year is 1837 and ex-convict Jack Maggs has returned illegally to London from Australia. Installing himself in the household of a genteel grocer, he attracts the attention of a cross-section of society. Saucy Mercy Larkin wants him for a mate. Writer Tobias Oates wants to possess his soul through hypnosis. Maggs, a figure both frightening and mysteriously compelling, is so in thrall to the notion of a gentlemanly class that he's risked his life to come back to his torturers. His task is to shed his false consciousness and understand that his true destiny lies in Australia.
'A profound exploration of the intertwinings of fiction and life . . . a ravishing book.' Geoffrey Dutton, The Australian
'A work of extraordinary, inventive energy, hazarding territory where few writers dare to go.' Helen Daniel, The Age
'Wildly entertaining . . . Clever, amusing, absorbing . . . with dark, succulent, dense, pungent, knobbly, inscrutable characters every one of whom might have come from a Dickens novel.' New York Review of Books
'Radiant. Peter Carey's narrative rushes like a great stream toward a glittery falls, gathering momentum as it rolls.' Boston Globe
'Everything that can happen does in Jack Maggs . . . You shouldn't plan on leaving your chair until you're finished.' Baltimore Sun
'Strange, bold, gripping and wonderful . . . A power struggle, a double love story, a quest story, and a story of trickery and disguise.' Hermione Lee, The Observer