Peter Carey

From “Illywhacker”

"But it was in that mullock heap she found a muddied stone more valuable than any of the fool's gold the staff so proudly presented to her".

"In any case, it is a pretty story, so I will leave it hovering there, like an aeroplane, alone in the sky, gliding towards her with a dead engine."

"The craft was sandwiched in the cobalt sky like a dragonfly in amber. A magpie sang, its notes as clear as glass. "

"She was yelling into an empty well, only wanting to hear her happiness amplified."

"I had never been in a situation before where my lies looked so likely to become true. I did not achieve this alone. So many people contributed creamy coats of credibility to my untruth that the nasty speck of grit was fast becoming a beautiful thing, a lustrous pearl it was impossible not to covet."

"Molly multiplied 899 by 32 in her head. A small, light, happy calculation. It meant nothing. She multiplied in relief. A flood of numerals marched across her mind and swept away her misery. 7,676 by 296, she thought, marching down the stairs behind her brothers. The answer seemed almost as long as life itself... She did some multiplications for God as well, presenting him, finally, with 5,895,323."

“His great carved wooden head was marked with a black eye that was more yellow than black and from this spectacular bed of bruised flesh the eye itself, sand irritated, bloodshot, as wild as a currawong's, stared out at a landscape in which the tops of fences protruded from windswept sand.”

"...the thin green tower of flame which rises from the wattle log to meet - like a comet on a chance collision - the blue penumbra of the yellow flower made by the dancer's broken stick."

"Mervyn Sullivan was a bully and a bastard but he was a masterful lover and although not totally denying the watery emotion suggested by his face, performed with such lingering brutality that Leah, who five minutes before had been a virgin, found herself in Elizabeth Street, spread out across a desk and making tiny bird-sounds she did not at first recognize as coming from her at all. "

"It was an odd, bright, windy sort of morning. The gums tossed above our camp and showed the silver undersides of their leaves like a million dazzling knives. The grasses were mirrors and even the pebbles we kicked aimlessly beneath our boots were peppered full of glittering mica. "

"...and in the face of all the forces to the contrary, the gloomy light, his empty belly, the melancholy snoring of his host, the lost snakes, the various stinks of mice, sweat, must, seaweed, the dismembered motor cycle, the flies fucking on the jam spots on the table, this oil smudge of affection was enough to make him happy."


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