Oscar Hopkins, the hydrophobic, noisy-kneed son of a preacher, renounces his father's stern religion in favour of the Anglican Church. Lucinda Leplastrier, a frizzy-haired heiress, impulsively buys a glass factory with the inheritance forced on her by a well-intentioned adviser. When the two finally meet, on board a ship to New South Wales, they are bound by their affinity for gambling and risk, their loneliness, and their awkwardly blossoming mutual affection. Love will prove to be their ultimate gamble.
'Very, very hard to put down . . . Like the characters of Charles Dickens and Honore de Balzac, Mr Carey's creations are real in the simplest human sense.' Washington Times
'Genius is a devalued, overworked word, but make no mistake about it, in that department Peter Carey has been richly blessed.' Punch
'It fills me with wild, savage envy, and no novelist could say fairer than that.' Angela Carter, The Guardian
'We have a great novelist living on the planet with us and his name is Peter Carey.'Los Angeles Times Book Review
'The most original and rewarding novel to appear in the English language for many years.' Financial Times
'As fine a love story and as fascinating an exploration as any reader could wish . . . Carey writes as if the world he has created, and his own private life, are at stake.' Chicago Tribune