(From the publisher):
In Melbourne in the 1940s, a conservative young poet named Christopher Chubb decides to teach the country a lesson about pretension and authenticity. Choosing as his target the most avant-garde of the literary magazines, he submits for publication the entire oeuvre of one Bob McCorkle, a working-class poet of raw power and sexual frankness, conveniently dead at twenty-four and entirely the product of Chubb's imagination. Not only does the magazine fall for the hoax, but its editor is prosecuted for publishing obscenity. During the trial, someone uncannily resembling the man in the faked photograph of the invented McCorkle leaps to his feet. At this moment a horrified Chubb is confronted by the malevolent being he has himself manufactured.
Using as a springboard the Ern Malley hoax, Peter Carey wickedly and ruefully explores how the phantom poet taunts, haunts and otherwise destroys his maker, pursuing Chubb from Melbourne to the seedy, sweaty, tropical chaos of Kuala Lumpur. Inexorably the Creature steals Chubb’s life, eclipsing him as a poet and a man. In a twist that is truly devilish, Chubb’s own existence finally comes to depend on the Creature’s "real" unpublished poems.
Original title: My Life as a Fake
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction