彼得·凯里, Yandina, Queensland, Australia, in the seventies.

When I arrived at Peter Carey’s apartment on a chilly March morning for the first of the two conversations that make up this interview, Carey took my coat and hung it up. When we met again ten days later, he gestured toward the closet and said, “You know where the hangers are.” He is a casual man, usually found in jeans and sneakers, and given to genial profanity. For much of our four hours of conversation he reclined in his chair, his feet up on the kitchen table. But if his posture was laid-back, his expression was lively, and he laughed frequently. When talk turned to his childhood in Australia, he hopped up to show me family photographs—of his grandfather, Robert Graham Carey, an aviator, posing in a monoplane in Adelaide in 1917; and of Carey Motors, the car dealership Carey’s parents ran in Ballarat, near the small town of Bacchus Marsh, where he was born in 1943. From a kitchen drawer Carey produced a fistful of comment slips from his boarding-school days, which he displayed with self-deprecatory glee. “Very hard-working,” wrote his house master at Geelong Grammar School, in 1960. “Very intense and serious-minded. He needs to have his leg pulled and learn to laugh at himself. It may be better to concentrate on the Pure Maths next term.”

Carey has instead concentrated on fiction, with prodigious results. Since 1974 he has published two collections of stories, nine novels, a children’s book, and several short works of nonfiction, and he is one of only two novelists to have been awarded the Booker Prize twice: first forOscar and Lucinda(1988),两个维多利亚时代的不称职的故事,赌博成为爱的纽带。然后是凯利帮派的真实历史(2000年)(在全球售出了200万册,这是一本以澳大利亚的Outlaw-Hero Hero Ned Kelly,Horse Thief和Bank Robber的来信形式的小说,他们在二十六岁时被绞死。凯里(Carey)在最近的小说中探索了创造力和欺骗的交集。My Life as a Fake澳大利亚(2003)的灵感来源于一个臭名昭著的诗人ry hoax. And inTheft: A Love Story凯里(Carey)于今年五月出版,将澳大利亚画家迈克尔·“屠夫”·布恩(Michael“ Butcher” Boone)的声音交织在一起,当时他的精神残障兄弟休(Hugh)在驾驶以伪造和欺诈为标志的国际艺术世界时。

1990年,凯里(Carey)搬到了纽约,此后居住。在他的最后几本小说中,他的选秀融入了他所谓的“工作笔记本”。第一个,是The Kelly Gang,“巨大,沉重,烦人,穿过灌木丛”;最近的纸张使用较轻的纸张和宽阔的纸张进行笔记。这些页面很粗糙(“我很糟糕,令人震惊”,他说),突出显示了段落,以表明需要进一步研究的地方;边距持有章节计划和情节点,日历和时间表,以及偶尔粘贴的明信片,这与正在进行的故事有关。尽管笔记本电脑讲述了凯里(Carey)将历史和传奇人物编织到自己丰富发明的世界中的才华,但他们也说明了他的社论严格。他说:“对于作家来说,最伟大的事情是能够削减。”

面试官

You were raised in small-town Australia—your parents ran an automobile dealership and sent you to Geelong Grammar, the country’s most prestigious prep school. What did they think when you told them you were a writer?

彼得·凯里

我没有告诉他们。我在广告方面找到了工作。因此,即使我在写作,
我一直在支持自己。这对我父亲来说就是重要的事情,父亲绝对是大萧条的生物。每当我加薪时,他都会担心。他会认为,彼得不值得所有这些钱,他将是第一个被解雇的人。当我终于开始出版时,父亲从未读过我的作品。他会说,哦,那是你母亲的事情。但是我母亲发现这些书很沮丧。我认为她读得足够多,知道她不想去那里。我认为我的兄弟不读我的书,但他最近可能已经开始。我姐姐是唯一读我的人。

这与不赞成无关。我的父母为我的成功感到非常自豪。请注意,当我赢得布克奖时,我母亲的思想已经开始徘徊了一点。我去了伦敦,我打电话给她说,妈妈,你还记得那个奖项吗?哦,是的,亲爱的,她说。我说,我赢了!哦,很好,亲爱的。您的工作中有些人。我说,什么工作?她说,我不知道 - 他们有相机。

一名小报电视工作人员到达了她的家门口。这是一些糟糕的电视节目。他们对她说,凯里夫人,您一定很高兴!哦,是的,她说,彼得总是很特别。他们说,他打电话给你吗?我妈妈说,给我打电话吗?他为什么要打电话给我?他从来没有响过我。

面试官

They sound like regular parents. How did they come to send you to this fancy boarding school?

凯里

我父亲在十四岁离开学校,所以this was a man with no deep experience of formal education. My mother was the daughter of a poor schoolteacher—well, that’s a tautology—a country schoolteacher. I think she might have gone one year to a sort of posh school, but she would have been noticeably not well off. So you have to imagine these two people, my parents, in this little town, working obsessively hard in this small-time car business. The local high school was not particularly distinguished—I think it stopped at a certain level—and my mother was a working mother. Geelong Grammar? Because it was the best. It cost six hundred pounds a year in 1954, which was an unbelievable amount of money—and they really weren’t that well off—and they did it. So I think she thought they were doing the very best thing they could do. I suppose it did solve a few child-care problems. I never felt I was being exiled or sent away, but I was only eleven years old. No one could have guessed that the experience would finally produce an endless string of orphan characters in my books.

面试官

Is that where they come from—your boarding-school experience?

凯里

Well, it took me ages to figure that out. I thought the orphans were there because it’s just easier—you don’t have to invent a complicated family history. But I think in retrospect that it’s not a failure of imagination. I’m writing a book now about an orphan. But it’s also the story of Australia, which is a country of orphans. I have the good fortune that my own personal trauma matches my country’s great historical trauma. Our first fleet was cast out from “home.” Nobody really wanted to be there. Convicts, soldiers were all going to starve or survive together. Later, the state created orphans among the aboriginal population through racial policies, stealing indigenous kids from their communities and trying to breed out their blackness. Then there were all these kids sent from England to Dr. Barnardo’s Homes, which were institutions for homeless and destitute children, some of them run in the most abusive, horrible circumstances. There was one near us in Bacchus Marsh called Northcote Farm. This continued until almost 1970.

面试官

这种经历 - 被送往学校,以这种方式被孤立的经历 - 您想成为一名作家的经历是什么?

凯里

Good God, no. I thought I would be an organic chemist. I went off to university, and when I couldn’t understand the chemistry lectures I decided that I would be a zoologist, because zoologists seemed like life-loving people. They looked at art, they read poetry. But I was faking my physics experiments, which is very exhausting. You’d think it’s easy enough to start with the answer and work backwards, but my experimental method was terrible. Then I fell in love and everything went to hell. Then I had a very bad car accident, which I thought was a gift from God—because it was just before final exams. I remember waking up in the wreck, my scalp peeled back, blood pouring down my face, and thinking, Fantastic, I’ve got an excuse to fail.

面试官

发生了什么?

凯里

The bastards gave me supplementary examinations. So there was no escape. But I failed all of those as well, and then I had to get a job. I finally found a job at an advertising agency. It was a strange agency, as it turns out—full of writers and artists and run by a former member of the Communist Party. It sounds ridiculous, but I worked at three different agencies all run by former Communists. If you think about it, it’s not so strange. It was Australia, not the U.S. It was after the war, and they were young intellectuals of the left. In my first job I worked alongside a man named Barry Oakley, an English teacher in his thirties who had come into advertising to support his wife and six children. He was certainly startled to find himself where he was. But he was writing every day, and he ended up being the literary editor of an Australian newspaper and also a distinguished playwright and novelist. There were also some good painters. None of us were real copywriters. I don’t think I got a single piece of copy accepted all the time I worked there. We used to write copy all day, but then our boss would come down from meetings and put on his cardigan, which was a sign that he was going to be creative, and he would rewrite everything we’d done. So Barry and I were a little hysterical because we couldn’t imagine why we were not being fired.

面试官

您从经验中得到了什么?

凯里

我被人们写在一个人写和谈论书籍的环境中。吉朗语法被称为“好学校”,但这种声誉比其他任何东西都更重要。我的教育确实始于这个小型广告公司。我开始阅读。我读了很多东西,读了各种各样的东西。詹姆斯·乔伊斯(James Joyce)和格雷厄姆·格林(Graham Greene),杰克·凯鲁亚克(Jack Kerouac)和威廉·福克纳(William Faulkner),一周又一周。根本没有十九世纪的作者。没有澳大利亚的作家,因为我认为他们一文不值,这是一个很好的殖民自我仇恨。我随意读书,但充满激情。我会认真地坐在那里Cantos, for instance, almost building a wall between myself and the possibility of reading them.