From the book jacket: Michaela.k.a. "Butcher"Boone is an ex"really
famous" painter: opinionated, furious, brilliant, and now reduced to living in
the remote country house of his biggest collector and acting as caretaker for
his younger brother, Hugh, a damaged man of imposing physicality and childlike
emotional volatility. Alone together theyve forged a delicate and shifting
equilibrium, a balance instantly destroyed when a mysterious young woman named
Marlene walks out of a rainstorm and into their lives on three-inch Manolo
Blahnik heels. Beautiful, smart, and ambitious, shes also the daughter-in-law
of the late great painter Jacques Liebovitz, one of Butchers earliest
influences. Shes sweet to Hugh and falls in love with Butcher, and they
reciprocate in kind. And she sets in motion a chain of events that could be the
makingor the ruinof them all.
Comment: Theft is told through the alternating points of view of the brothersButchers urbane, intelligent, caustic observations contrasting with Hughs bizarre, frequently poetic voice. Tall tales, straight-out lies and hoaxes are themes that run through Carey's novels, along with a tendency to mix fact and fantasy. In this case the central action is a high-stakes art heist wrapped around the tale of two brothers - the probably brilliant painter Michael Boone, who has recently been released from prison, and his psychologically damaged "idiot savant" bear-like brother.
Despite having lived in New York for 15 years, Carey once again sets his latest book, at least in part, in Australia, but we're also taken on a wild ride through Japan and New York in a novel that has received exceptional reviews from all prepublication review sources (including three starred reviews), and has been variously described as "a masterpiece", "a certifiable hoot", "edgy, irreverent, often hilariously profane", "sharply observed, well written, and acerbically witty".
This review was originally published in May 2006, and has been updated for the May 2007 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.
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