Theft

Theft

A Love Story

Book - 2006
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Ferocious and funny, penetrating and exuberant, Theft is two-time Booker Prize-winner Peter Carey's master class on the things people will do for art, for love . . . and for money.

"I don't know if my story is grand enough to be a tragedy, although a lot of shitty stuff did happen. It is certainly a love story but that did not begin until midway through the shitty stuff, by which time I had not only lost my eight-year-old son, but also my house and studio in Sydney where I had once been famous as a painter could expect in his own backyard. . ."

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 New South Wales. Here the formerly famous artist is reduced to being a caretaker for his biggest collector, as well as nurse to his erratic brother.

Then the mysterious Marlene turns up in Manolo Blahniks one stormy night. 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.

Displaying Carey's extraordinary flare 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 great novel will make you laugh out loud.
Publisher: [Toronto] : Random House Canada, 2006
ISBN: 9780679314639
0679314636
Characteristics: 269 p

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GLNovak
Nov 12, 2016

Michael "Butcher" Bones and his brother Hugh are living out in the countryside of Australia. He is an out of vogue painter living off the generousity of his biggest collector and taking care of his mentally-challenged brother. He meets an art authenticator who has shown up to look at a Liebowitz that his neighbour owns. She is Marlene Liebowitz, the daughter-in-law of the famous Australian artist Jacques Liebowitz. Butcher becomes besotted with her and is lured into a scheme that takes them on a ride of high-living, plotting and counterfeiting in the international art world. All the while Hugh is trying to live his life as best he can. The story alternates between the perspectives of the two brothers, and as I read along I found Hugh to be more and more the reliable likeable character. It was a hard story to get in to but with Hugh enticing me on I kept at it. His unique way of seeing the world and commenting on it was a treat.

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yl
Jul 15, 2010

yl thinks this title is suitable for 20 years and over

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yl
Jul 15, 2010

Coarse Language: Even on the Description (and Quotes) page/tab of Bibliocommons a swear is quoted from the book.

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Hadley
Sep 09, 2008

I don't know if my story is grand enough to be a tragedy, although a lot of shitty stuff did happen. It is certainly a love story but that did not begin until midway through the shitty stuff, by which time I had not only lost my eight-year-old son, but also my house and studio in Sydney where I had once been about as famous as a painter could expect in his own backyard. It was the year I should have got the Order of Australia--why not!--look at who they give them to. Instead my child was stolen from me and I was eviscerated by divorce lawyers and gaoled for attempting to retrieve my own best work which had been declared Marital Assets.

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