Peter Carey: The Tax Inspector

(1825 words)
  • Bruce Woodcock (University of Hull)
  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume Australian Writing and Culture.

The Tax Inspector was Carey's first novel written from his new home in America, and his first fiction to be based solely in contemporary setting since Bliss and the short stories. It is a bleak and disturbing vision of a barbarous society. After the spacious panoramas and historical range of Illywhacker and Oscar and Lucinda, Carey restricts himself to almost classical limits of time and place. The tense action is based in the outer suburbs of contemporary Sydney over a period of four days, those being the divisions of the novel (chapters 1-29 Sunday/Monday; 30-45 Tuesday; 46-57 Wednesday; 58-61 Thursday). The pared-down narrative has the dialogic quality of a film-script and fluently interweaves strands of …

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Woodcock, Bruce. "The Tax Inspector". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 November 2002
[, accessed 29 November 2015.]