The year is 1837 and ex-convict Jack Maggs has returned illegally to London from Australia. Installing himself in the household of a genteel grocer, he attracts the attention of a cross-section of society. Saucy Mercy Larkin wants him for a mate. Writer Tobias Oates wants to possess his soul through hypnosis. Maggs, a figure both frightening and mysteriously compelling, is so in thrall to the notion of a gentlemanly class that he's risked his life to come back to his torturers. His task is to shed his false consciousness and understand that his true destiny lies in Australia.
Winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Miles Franklin Award, Peter Carey's Jack Maggs is dazzlingly entertaining.