From the first page Peter Carey captures the reader’s attention and entertains with great writing as he tells the story of hoaxes, madmen, rejections, unfulfilled expectations, fakes and lies. Carey maintains a good pace throughout the book but the story fizzles at the end and left me a little dissatisfied. Nevertheless this is a book worth reading. The story begins in London where Sarah, the youngest editor of a literary magazine, is somewhat depressed for not having introduced a major work to the world in her 12 years in the job. She is enticed by an old family friend – John Slater, a mediocre poet turned critic still living off the reputation of his first work – to Malaysia. There, while strolling through a shopping alley Sarah spies a western man working in a bike repair shop reading Rilke. Anyone reading Rilke would be interested in her magazine she thought, so she returns to the shop and leaves a copy for him. Quickly he gets in touch with her and we meet Christopher Chubb who considers himself a poet - and who once did submit some work to Sarah’s magazine that was rejected. He shows her one page of his work which he believes is “great” and Sarah is immediately interested. But to see the rest of the work Sarah must hear his story.From this point the novel is a monologue as Chubb tells his story and Sarah frantically takes notes while John Slater, who knows of Chubb more intimately than he makes out, tries to wrest her away. We learn of Chubb’s hoax some 30year earlier (based on the infamous 1944 Australian Ern Malley hoax) where he tries to embarrass an old school chum who had rejected his works. The editor falls for the hoax but Carey’s story takes a different turn from the original when Weiss is charged with publishing obscenities. Chubb would like to help the editor get off the charge, but during the trial a strange man appears who vaguely resembles a montage photo of Bob McCorkle, the unrecognized Australian working class poet that Chubb created.The imaginary man becomes real and Chubb is stalked by “McCorkle” who is seeking a full identity from his creator - and eventually a passport. Chubb’s life becomes a nightmare. McCorkle gets his new identity with the help of Chubb’s lover, the woman to whom he may or may not be the father of her newly born daughter, and a friend of hers – who turns out to be John Slater, who had a one-night stand about the time the daughter was conceived. Who is who and who is not start becoming confused. McCorkle gets custody of the daughter as the mother - a libertine and socialite - is more interested in a party life than motherhood. He flees to South-East Asia where he has little difficulty in attracting benefactors. Enraged, Chubb chases him and spends the next couple of decades tracking him down and reclaiming his daughter. This story has a Frankenstein element of the creator being haunted by his creation leading to the creator destroying his creation in this story. But as the story unfolds characters and roles become confused, and the issue of truth, lies and deception takes central stage. Is McCorkle the creation of Chubb or is Chubb appropriating McCorkle’s work? Why does John Slater understate his knowledge of Chubb? Is Sarah deceiving herself in her pursuit of a “major work”? Where do facts end and lies begin becomes harder to tell. Carey has a great way with words and is a good storyteller and these skills compensate for the less than satisfactory ending of this story. Who is the fake? Read and enjoy.