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His Illegal Self
The latest novel from the Booker Prize-winning author is another rousing tale of discovery that takes the rough landscape of Australia as its primary backdrop. The narrative opens in New York City, where seven-year-old Che Selkirk lives with his American grandmother. Che's parents, free-spirited radicals at Harvard during the 1960s, have been absent since he was a toddler, but he hopes they'll return one day. When a strange young woman named Dial comes to Che's apartment unexpectedly, he's convinced she is his mother. The two soon hit the road, and Che's disappearance from the city makes the news. Meanwhile, Dial, who is actually an escort designated to take Che to see his mother, doesn't have the heart to tell him the truth. Eventually, the two end up in a commune in Australiaa crude encampment with no running water populated by a group of feuding hippies. Well out of his element, Che is forced to find his way in unfamiliar surroundings. With the preternatural intelligence and spunk that only small children possess, he succeeds in doing so, coming to grips with his identity along the way. Carey writes with amazing authenticity from the perspective of Che, and the conclusion he has cooked up for this beautifully rendered adventure story is sure to knock readers for a loop.
A reading group guide is available online at readinggroupcenter.com.