Author: Peter Carey
Original language: English
Publication date: 2006
Ferocious and funny, penetrating and exuberant, Theft is two-time Booker Prize-winner Peter Carey’s master class on the things people will do for art, for love . . . and for money.
“I don’t know if my story is grand enough to be a tragedy, although a lot of shitty stuff did happen. It is certainly a love story but that did not begin until midway through the shitty stuff, by which time I had not only lost my eight-year-old son, but also my house and studio in Sydney where I had once been famous as a painter could expect in his own backyard. . .”
So begins Peter Carey’s highly charged and lewdly funny new novel. Told by the twin voices of the artist, Butcher Bones, and his “damaged two-hundred-and-twenty-pound brother” Hugh, it recounts their adventures and troubles after Butcher’s plummeting prices and spiralling drink problem force them to retreat to New South Wales. Here the formerly famous artist is reduced to being a caretaker for his biggest collector, as well as nurse to his erratic brother.
Then the mysterious Marlene turns up in Manolo Blahniks one stormy night. Claiming that the brothers’ friend and neighbour owns an original Jacques Liebovitz, she soon sets in motion a chain of events that could be the making or ruin of them all.
Displaying Carey’s extraordinary flare for language, Theft is a love poem of a very different kind. Ranging from the rural wilds of Australia to Manhattan via Tokyo – and exploring themes of art, fraud, responsibility and redemption – this great novel will make you laugh out loud.