Aussie Reads: The Fat Man in History by Peter Carey
The Fat Man in History by Peter Carey
Opening Sentence:Crabs is very neat in everything he does.
Synopsis:A landmark in contemporary Australian literature, The Fat Man in History brought early acclaim to Peter Carey for his brilliant and ingenious fiction. These twelve stories introduce visionary landscapes of intense clarity, where the rules of the game are bizarre yet chillingly familiar.
Comments:Crabs:This story starts off slowly, but turns out OK.
Peeling:This story advocates some interesting life views but soon becomes a nightmare.
She Wakes:A very short story about an unfulfilling relationship.
Life & Death in the Southside Pavilion:One feels very sorry for the horses in this story.
Room No. 5 (Escribo):This is quite a good story and raises some interesting questions. Who is the smiling lady? Where did she come from? Why is she there? The answers to these questions are left to us to surmise.
Happy Story:A very interesting story about the desire for flight.
A Windmill in the West:The story of a lonely soldier's slow descent into madness.
Withdrawal:This was a great story about the owner of an antique store with macabre taste.
Report on the Shadow Industry:A surreal story about the sale of "shadows" and the problems and addictions that result. This story takes third place in the collection.
Conversations with Unicorns:Is death a gift or a curse? Sometimes the fact that we can help doesn't mean that we should... I give this story second place in the collection.
American Dreams:The story of one man's revenge on a small American town.
The Fat Man in History: This is my favourite story in the collection. An interesting experiment in social dependency.
Overall, these stories are a little odd (some are just downright weird) but they each have an important message to impart. Most importantly they are all enjoyable to read. In my opinion the three best stories in this collection are (in order) The Fat Man in History, Conversations with Unicorns and Report on the Shadow Industry.