Jack Maggs

Publisher: Vintage Canada
A foundling trained in the art of thievery, Jack Maggs was betrayed and deported to Australia for life. But now, having reversed his fortunes, he seeks to fulfill his innermost desire. Returning to London under threat of execution, he's quickly embroiled in various entanglements among a handful of characters — each with their own secrets. And as their various schemes converge, the captivating figure at the epicentre is Maggs himself, at once frightening, mystifying, and utterly compelling.


It was a Saturday night when the man with the red waistcoat arrived in London. It was, to be precise, six of the clock on the fifteenth of April in the year of 1837 that those hooded eyes looked out the window of the Dover coach and beheld, in the bright aura of gas light, a golden bull and an overgrown mouth opening to...
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1. "I am an old dog...who has been treated bad, and has learned all sort of tricks he wishes he never had to know" (69), says Jack Maggs. Maggs is a strong man with certain weaknesses. What in his background might have caused the tendency toward romantic fantasy (about Phipps, for example) which is so much at...

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"Wildly entertaining . . . clever, amusing, absorbing, a Christmas pudding stuffed...with dark, succulent, dense, pungent, knobbly, inscrutable characters every one of which might have come from a Dickens novel."
New York Review of Books

"After a chapter or two, the mists, potions and smells of 1830s England begin to seep off the page, and Carey's new novel makes its presence felt . . . This is an absorbing, beautifully written novel."
Daily Telegraph

"A novel written to remind us just what pleasures a whacking good yarn can deliver."
Montreal Gazette