Peter Carey: Illywhacker

(4826 words)
  • Ryan Webb (University of East Anglia)
  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume Australian Writing and Culture.

Illywhacker, Peter Carey’s second published novel, is a work of startling narrative scope and ambition. Like Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, published four years earlier, its approach seems to be heavily influenced by Günter Grass’s The Tin Drum in that it distils decades of national history – in Carey’s case, Australian national history – into the life story of a central character and his family. Unlike these other two novels, however, Illywhacker is neither specifically political or directly allegorical; its depiction of Australian national identity is often murky, being tied up in a number of ambiguous and self-contradictory leitmotifs woven into the …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Webb, Ryan. "Illywhacker". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 September 2004
[, accessed 08 July 2015.]