Jack Maggs

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Jack Maggs
Author Peter Carey
Country Australia
Language English
Genre Parallel Novel
Publisher UQP (Australia)
Faber & Faber (UK)
Knopf (US)
Publication date
1997 (Australia & UK)
1998 (US)
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 392 pp
ISBN 0-7022-2952-0
OCLC 37500556
823 21
LC Class PR9619.3.C36 J33 1997

Jack Maggs (1997) is a novel by Peter Carey.

Plot summary[edit]

Maggs a trained thief from childhood in London finally sentenced to exile in Australia. After release makes a fortune in the brick industry on clay land he was granted. returned to England under threat of execution to find his son. Set in 19th century London, Jack Maggs is a reworking of the Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations. The story centres around Jack Maggs (the equivalent of Magwitch) and his quest to meet his 'son' Henry Phipps (the equivalent of Pip), who has mysteriously disappeared, having closed up his house and dismissed his household.

Maggs becomes involved as a servant in the household of Phipps's neighbour, Percy Buckle, as he attempts to wait out Phipps or find him in the streets of London. He eventually cuts a deal with the young and broke up and coming novelist Tobias Oates (a thinly disguised Charles Dickens) that he hopes will lead him to Phipps. Oates, however, has other plans, as he finds in Maggs a character from whom to draw much needed inspiration for a forthcoming novel which he desperately needs to produce.

Critical reception[edit]

Hermione Lee called the book 'an imaginative and daring act of appropriation'. [1]


  1. ^ Screen Adaptations, Great Expectations, Brian McFarlane, p.47

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
The Glade within the Grove
Miles Franklin Award recipient
Succeeded by