Peter Carey: The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith

(2818 words)

The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith (1994) is widely regarded as Peter Carey’s least successful novel to date, although this assessment may be explained by the work’s complete departure from his previous writing. Richly experimental, it abandons the well-established Australian settings which had characterized much of Carey’s work up until this point, but it is still a novel that is very much caught up with issues of nationalism and national identity, both important themes in Carey’s fiction.

Reviewers have been divided on the work’s merits, with Melissa Bellanta declaring in The API Review of Books that: “Tristan Smith is too self-conscious, too obviously invented, to …

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Moore, Grace. "The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 31 October 2005
[, accessed 01 July 2015.]