Monday, 31 March 2008

Review: War Crimes by Peter Carey

This is the second Peter Carey collection I've read (lent to me kindly by my friend B). I have one more (The Tax Inspector) up my sleeve. I wasn't as wowed by this one as I was by the first (A Fat Man in History, see here ) and upon review of that, er, review, I think it's the book's fault rather than mine. (By which I mean that I just preferred 'A Fat Man...', rather than me projecting too high an expectation on 'War Crimes'). Don't get me wrong, these stories are all well executed - beautifully executed. The whole time I was reading, I was always comfortable in the work, and not aware that I was reading (which is always a good sign). However, that extra factor of *ZOMG* WOW!!! was (on average) just not there.

According to the back blurb (which I read after finishing the book), these stories are all about power. Some of the are obviously so - particularly 'The Uses of Williamson's Wood' (which I quite liked), and 'Kristu-Du (which I liked less). My favorite story was probably "Do You Love Me?" and the rather sordid 'The Journey of a Lifetime' was also pretty memeorablee (And, yes, these are both about power too).

One odd thing I noticed with a lot of these stories, which I didn't notice with 'A Fat Man...' was the fact that most of them are split into numbered chapters (or scenes, perhaps, they're rather too small to be chapters). I'm not sure why Carey repeated this particular style so often. It didn't grate, but it was noticeable and I guess did disappoint me a little.

Finally I note that, again, this collection is old (not older than me this time, but almost) and yet none of the stories seem dated. That's pretty impressive in itself.

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