Life Giving Lies. "My Life as a Fake" by Peter Carey. [review]
Anchored in the well-known facts of the Malley hoax, 'My Life As a Fake' tells the story of Sarah Wode-Douglass who, on a trip to Malaysia, chances upon Chubb reading a rare copy of Rilke’s 'Sonette an Orpheus'. Hopelessly stranded in a bicycle shop in Kuala Lumpur, Chubb subsequently tells her the 'story of his sad, unlikely life' and entangles Wode-Douglass, editor of an ailing literary magazine, into the mysteries of McCorkle's secret life. For the rest of the novel, the reader follows the narrator Wode-Douglass on her quest for the literary genius who came forth into the world as a clever literary prank at the age of twenty-four, and now tracks down his maker demanding a birth certificate to legitimate his faked existence. In a variation on the Frankenstein motif, Chubb’s phantom overcomes his creator to be 'the greatest writer ever born' and eventually, in an ironic twist of fortunes, tricks his master into living his own lie.