Confession time - after my latest re-reading of "Great Expectations" I succumbed to the promise that Jack Maggs would tell the back story of the enigmatic convict turned benefactor of Dickens' great work - and I'm usually very sniffy about the genre, particularly of the Austen/Bronte ilk.
What "Jack Maggs" actually turns out to be, is a superbly crafted and adeptly told tale of a tortured soul returning to England, with characters very reminiscent of Magwitch, Pip and even Dickens himself, which flavour a satirical take on early 19th century London, told from an acerbic colonial's viewpoint. By about a quarter the way through, I was hooked on the book on its own merits, rather than a pastiche (though one thing I missed were Dickens' extravagant character names, Carey's are very utilitarian by comparison!)
Excellent, thought provoking, and all the better that Jack Maggs gets a happier ending than Magwitch!
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