Peter Carey is the master of dramatic, intriguing and far-fetched opening sentences, starting with his first novel Bliss (“Harry Joy was to die three times, but it was his first death which was to have the greatest effect on him”), through to his first short-listed Booker Prize novel Illywhacker (“My name is Herbert Badgery. I am a hundred and thirty-nine years old and something of a celebrity.”), and to the second Booker Prize winning True History of the Kelly Gang (“I lost my own father at 12 yr. of age and know what it is to be raised on lies and silences my dear daughter you are presently too young to understand a word I write but this history is for you and will contain no single lie may I burn in Hell if I speak false.”), to name but a few. In his thirteenth novel, Carey treats his readers to another arresting beginning in the style of Jarmusch’s 1991 Night on Earth: “It was a spring evening in Washington DC; a chilly autumn morning in Melbourne; it was exactly 22.00 Greenwich Mean Time when a worm entered the computerised control systems of countless Australian prisons and released the locks in many other places of incarceration, some of which the hacker could not have known existed” (3).
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