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Summary

Che is raised in isolated privilege by his New York grandmother, the precocious son of radical Harvard students in the 60s.

Yearning for his famous outlaw parents, denied all access to television and the news, he takes hope from his long-haired teenage neighbour who predicts "They will come for you, man. They'll break you out of here."

Soon Che too is an outlaw, fleeing down subways, abandoning seedy motels at night, as he is pitched into a journey that leads him to a hippy commune in the jungle of tropical Queensland. Here he slowly, bravely, confronts his life, learning that nothing is what it seems.

©2008 Peter Carey (P)2008 WF Howes Ltd

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Profile Image for Ian C Robertson
  • Ian C Robertson
  • 31-07-15

A Struggle

I love Peter Carey's work, mostly. However, I regret to say that I struggled with this title. Mostly, I struggled to connect with the journey that boy and stranger/come parent hopeful were upon. I didn't relate to him and I didn't relate to her. Carey's trademark similes began to grate on me and the Ozification of the text made me inwardly cringe. All of that made it hard for Ms McKenzie to shine, but her Australian accents were ok and her male/female divide was good. I didn't much like the Boston accent (it's not my recollection of it). I may be overly critical of her, because I think the fault is in the text. This is not Oscar and Lucinda. However, given the sparsity of Australian authors available, you might just be homesick enough to reach for this one.

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  • rosie williams
  • 31-01-12

Fascinating!

What did you love best about His Illegal Self?

The writing. It has so many twists and turns, you can't stop listening to it.

What did you like best about this story?

The fact that you were kept in suspense right till the last page.

Have you listened to any of Nicolette McKenzie’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The description of the hinterland and the lifestyle of the people on the Sunshine Coast at that time.

Any additional comments?

This is a delightful book. Although it is difficult in the beginning, it is well worth persevering with it.