In the struggle to find out what sort of stories I wanted to write, along with Jim Crace, it was Peter Carey whose brilliant, strange and surreal early work that kept dragging me away from a more conventional realism. In ‘The Fat Man in History’ – also the title of his first collection – a post-revolutionary society has marginalized fat men, believing them to be the embodiment of pre-revolutionary oppression and greed. Alexander Finch, a depressed former political cartoonist, lives in a dilapidated house with his fellow fat men plotting to overthrow the new order. It’s funny and sad and full of beautiful writing.
First published in The Fat Man in History, (University of Queensland Press, 1974)