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 northern New South Wales. Here the formerly famous artist is reduced to being a caretaker for his biggest collector, and the nurse for his erratic brother. Then the mysterious Marlene turns up one stormy night, clad in a pair of Manolo Blahniks. 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. Once again displaying Peter Carey's extraordinary flair 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 is a great novel which will also make you laugh out loud.
Peter Carey's characters are always dodgy and unreliable. In Theft, Michael Boone is a once-famous Australian painter now out of fashion and fresh out of prison. He lives in a backwater, taking care of a former collector's property and his autistic savant brother, Hugh. Beautiful, manipulative Marlene wants to resurrect Michael's career. But is it all a cover for getting a missing painting out of the country? Simon Vance develops a hardscrabble Australian accent for Michael that is completely authentic, with his belligerence, arrogance, and obsession perfectly rendered; we understand Michael, but we don't like him much. Vance deals with the significant challenge of making Hugh believable--both "slow-witted" and linguistically playful--by developing a booming voice that expresses both independence and impairment. A.B. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine