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Additional info for Fabulating Beauty: Perspectives on the Fiction of Peter Carey (Cross Cultures 78) (Cross Cultures: Readings in the Post Colonial Literatures in)
Just take a look at Penn Station (where we both were today): there are parts of the old McKim building still there. The whole thing of looking at the past of Penn Station is not only to do with the destruction of the beautiful building that was there before, but to examine the rise of the automobile, the life of Robert Moses, the designer Raymond Loewry, the tunnels of New York, the Eagle as an imperial symbol, the baths of Caracalla in ancient Rome, the gangs of Hell’s Kitchen, not to mention all the movies shot in the old Pennsylvania Station or Faulkner’s short story of the same name.
Lyn McCredden and Ansgar Nünning both address concerns in Oscar and Lucinda that had already animated Illywhacker’s potential for cultural criticism: namely, the question of how European discourses fare when transplanted to the Antipodes. While Nünning explores the postmodern and postcolonial concept of history underlying the novel and shows how Carey, through formal, thematic and theoretical manoeuvres, renews the genre of the historical novel as such and re-examines received notions of Australian history, McCredden analyses how Carey handles ‘sacredness’ in the context of a novel that is largely informed by the postcolonial view of Christendom as an essentially alien presence in the Australian context.
9 The experience of Peter Carey’s Australian publishers supports this view: The effect of the Booker tends to be specific to the winning novel – The Tax Inspector and The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith were not so warmly received, especially by readers, and their sales suffered accordingly. However, Peter’s overall profile has been greatly enhanced by first one and then two Bookers. It means that when he has a good book, like Maggs [sic], it benefits. 10 Booker anecdotes such as these are not simply about risking capital in a cultural domain.