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Paperback The Tax Inspector Book

ISBN: 0394222733

ISBN13: 9780394222738

The Tax Inspector

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good


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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. Granny Catchprice runs her family business (and her family) with senility, cunning, and a handbag full of explosives. Her daughter Cathy would rather be singing Country & Western than selling cars,...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Some families are more dysfunctional than others

This story has many of the features that seem to be characteristic of Carey's novels: * gothic family drama played out by quirky, larger-than-life characters, who are nonetheless oddly likable * dark simmering family secrets * sporadic alcohol- or rage-fueled acts of extreme violence * at least one character (generally male) who is off-the-chart crazy * a wildly original plot, whose plausibility doesn't really hold up under careful scrutiny, but which is made palatable by * the author's natural gift for storytelling (excellent pacing and tight construction) and * writing that is polished and highly readable There are worse formulas, and so far I've not read anything by Carey that's been a complete dud. "The Tax Inspector" falls in the middle of the pack - an enjoyable read, but not his best, in my opinion. Aspects that I thought didn't work all that well included: MINOR SPOILER ALERT (though if you haven't figured out by page 20 that this story is going to end with a bang, you're not paying attention) # Things were just a little too gothic - the rampant dysfunction within the Catchprice family, ranging from the gelignite-toting grandma to the psychopathic 16-year old, Benny, (whose initial meltdown precipitates the havoc that unfolds as the story progresses), is just a little too over the top to carry much of an emotional charge # the particular deep dark family secret that featured in this story just seems overworked by writers in recent years, almost as if it were de rigeur for a memoir/family story to be considered "serious" # Almost the first thing we're told about Granny Catchprice is that she carries a stick of gelignite in her handbag at all times. Which means, by a simple application of Chekhov's law of the loaded gun, that we know how things will turn out. So where was the suspense? # The whole Sarkis story arc seemed entirely tangential and added little to the overall development These criticisms are actually less serious than they might seem. Because, as in his other books, Carey's gift for telling a good yarn, his ability to pull the reader into the eccentric milieu of his characters and make us care about those characters (even the weird ones) more than compensate for minor structural weaknesses. So that this was a very enjoyable read. 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4, because Carey's writing is always thought-provoking, never boring.

another brilliant carey novel

Carey's novels are so dark. I'm seduced by the prose and the situations but always find myself achingly wondering how I can bear to read more about the horrible histories of the characters and the tragic relationships between them. Mostly the characters start off seemingly likeable but the more I read the less I can identify with them.The Tax Collector is another brilliant Peter Carey book, thankfully with a glimpse of hope in the mostly appalling ending. I'm glad there are still some more Carey novels left that I haven't read!

A Though but Worthwile Trip into Guilt

The Tax Inspector maybe about the Catchprizes, a family entangled in its own guilt, sick games, and confusing emotion. It may also be about Maria, who gets into the Catchprize's path of destruction just by trying to perform a pointless auditing of their financial books (we learn from the first pages they are practically broke). But I could say the book is more about the emotional handicaped. No single character leaves this mess standing-up. Not even marginal characters like Maria's friend, lover and coworkers. Not even the reader. This is no book to put down as entertainment. Carey writes like a virtuous, his use of language to convey past and present into a downsiding spiral of distress is memorable. You will find yourself deep into Catchprize motors, you'll smell the oil stains, the decay and the hopelesness.

Strong stuff

This is the second Peter Carey book I've read, Oscar and Lucinda being the first. It took me a year to get over Oscar et al., before I could pick up The Tax Inspector. What a ride! Now another year has passed and I'm ready to see what Mr. Carey is going to do to me this time. I could read three "Hannibal" books in a row, but I can't do that with Carey books. There's an intensity that goes beyond my ability to describe it.

A maelstrom of stories combine in a darkly comic yarn.

Another totally unpredictable masterpiece by Peter Carey. Poor Maria, young, intelligent, beautiful, and gifted so far in her life with financial/career success, is thrust into juxtaposition with the Catchprice family when she is assigned to audit Catchprice Motors. The Catchprices seem to epitomize the modern dysfunctional family, a wild blend of discordant characters commonly saddled with guilt and impossible dreams. Against the Catchprice backdrop, Maria shines like a diamond. Unfortunately, the Catchprices are charmed by Maria, too, and their attempts to bring her into their world are varied and unforgettable.Far busier and more entangled than Bliss, less uplifting than either Bliss or Jack Maggs, this is not a book for the faint of heart, or those prone to depression! But there is still a thread of hope throughout this tale, winding through seamy strands of dishonesty and craziness.
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