The Fat Man in History
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The Fat Man in History

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  569 ratings  ·  37 reviews
One of Australia's most highly regarded novelists...accomplished, surehanded." -- Newsday

If, in some post-Marxist utopia, obesity were declared counterrevolutionary, how would a houseful of fat men strike back? If it were possible to win a new body by lottery, what kind of people would choose ugliness? If two gun-toting thugs decided to take over a business -- and run it t

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Paperback, 192 pages
Published January 4th 1993 by Vintage (first published 1974)
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Ben Winch
A flippant cruelty animates these clumsily-sketched cartoons.
Helen Hagemann
Review by Helen Hagemann
The Fat Man in History, first published in 1974 by UQP, is a collection of twelve short stories and the least well known of Carey’s work. The stories contain many aspects of Australian life, its landscape and people. The title story, The Fat Man in History, is about a group of rather large men who live in a share house, yet they are the “Fat Men Against the Revolution" (fat now being synonymous with reactionary). Peeling depicts the relationship of an older man imposing h...more
Tony
THE FAT MAN IN HISTORY. (1980). Peter Carey. ****.
This is a collection of ten short stories by Mr. Carey with a common theme of “what if” running through them. They aren’t science fiction, but they all involve a kind-of parallel universe that is different because of some slight change. In the title story, a group of fat men living together in the same house represent a group of counter-revolutionists in their society. Obesity is rare; food is scarce. How they manage to survive and combat the th...more
Jason
GOODREADS your bloody publication information is wrong. This book was first published in 1974. Don't appreciate that there is no way to notify you of this error.
Tom O’Connell
The first five stories resonate the most, but there are many in this collection that will stay with me. Such is their conceptual ingenuity (and, hey, the execution isn't half bad either –Carey knows how to wring weight and implication out of the barest of sentences). While some of the themes border on the surreal side, most of these stories are propelled by pure universal human drama.

The standouts for me were 'Do you love me?', 'The Chance' and the title story, 'Exotic Pleasures'. These three, I...more
Cid Andrenelli
A brilliant collection of short stories. The Chance: Set in a futuristic society, where people gamble for new bodies in a genetic lottery was creepy yet beautifully written with stark description and a sense of this could really happen? The namesake story: The Fat Man in History is about a group of fatties. Now ostracised by society where being fat is no longer acceptable and is seen as a sign of greed. Follow the character of Alexander Finch, gross and obese, as he walks out of a department sto...more
Kathleen Dixon
Peter Carey is undoubtedly an excellent author. From what I could find, I think this is the first publishing of his work (1974), and there's no sense of "quite good for a first effort" - each story is proof of accomplishment.

The people in these stories aren't happy, but then nor would you be if you lived in the kind of dystopian societies that they do. But rather than the modern fashion of having ordinary people battling heroically against wrongs, Carey gives us people who are placid and worn do...more
Femke
Het boek bestaat uit verschillende korte verhalen, waarvan geen enkel me kon boeien. Elk verhaal speelt zich af in de toekomst en heeft een zwarte, sterk surrealistische sfeer. Wellicht moet je van Peter Carey's stijl houden, hij heeft een bijzondere, artistieke manier om zaken te omschrijven, maar net als het vorige boek dat ik van hem las (Diefstal), vond ik het een last om door de pagina's heen te geraken.
Tor Marie
Short stories in parallel realities, meant to make you think. I found Carey's writing style somewhat hit-or-miss (it either keeps you locked to the page or you want to skip to the next story) but I liked the ideas behind the stories - stories of people dematerialising before your eyes, eating each other or going to get a new body. It really isn't the kind of thing to read if you're feeling bad about humanity.
J. McClain
I found this collection of short stories very refreshing in terms of voice and story content. As an American, part of the experience is probably due at least in part to cultural differences, but whatever the reason I thought these shorts were both striking and fresh. The quirkiness of the "slightly-different-from-reality" element to the stories makes this a fantastic read.
Jcken
Jan 22, 2014 Jcken added it
Wild mind on the loose. Peter Carey is more conservative today (these stories date back) yet still with an agitated imagination.
Cathy Condon bannister
This is the collection that lit my Peter Carey obsession. I loved delving into his dark imagination and his unsqueamish description of everyday details authors usually gloss over. The novels are far more polished, but these stories are surreal little gems.

In fact, I think I borrowed the book and still have it. Oops.
Muna
One of my all time favorite collections of short stories by one author, this book describes the vast pain of the beautiful future. I have had to buy it three times, with each copy getting carefully nabbed by envious others. Which is fine with me. I'll buy it as many times as you need, baby. Only the best for you.
Daniel
Wonderfully written, weird stories. Carey takes "what if" scenarios to their extremes in this satirical collection of short stories. This is bizarre fiction that speaks to universal themes of love, alienation, and loss. Stories not to miss: The Fat Man in History, Do You Love Me? Recommended!
Canova
This book is different from everything else that I've read... It is composed of a series of short dystopic stories that are VERY weird yet familiar. It would be interesting to use in a classroom in place of or alongside Brave New World, 1984, and The Handmaid's Tale.

Jen Jewel Brown
Nov 16, 2008 Jen Jewel Brown rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone breathing
Recommended to Jen Jewel by: no one
This knocked my socks off when it came out. Carey builds unique, discrete worlds so convincing I'm still stuck in some of them decades later. The best of his work is transcendental. Left me breathless with possibility.
Tamara Stowe
Couldn't even finish it! Learned that my dad picked it up from a seat pocket on a plane. There was a reason why someone left it there! First book ever to go into my recycling bin!
Nick
I think there are nine or ten stories in this collection. There are a few duds, but the last four made me feel like a bad person for almost an entire week! in a good way.
Molly
carey might be my favorite living writer -- but his early short stories are even better than his novels, especially if you like bleak, wry surrealism.
Amber
I don't know if it wasn't very good, or I wasn't in the mood. Eh. Eh speculative fiction. Eh collection loosely taking place in the same universe. Eh.
Markus Whittaker
read an excerpt of this in a collection of Carey's surrealist/sci-fi short stories, and was impressed, so I've been keeping an eye out
Saya Hashimoto
Great and imaginative short stories. Kind of like a book version of a dark and twisty movie such as Delicatessen.
Emilie
Very interesting short story style, if the characters are a little difficult to get into. Worth dipping in
Cyndi
This book is weird. I have too many other good books to read. I read a bit and just can't get into it.
Alan
read a long long time ago and remember being struck by the stark view of the future and brisk language.
Mark
A good collection of short stories, but not as interesting to me as his full length novels.
Amanda Patterson
Peter Carey is a well respected novleist who doesn't bore you to tears with dire subjects.
Andrea DeAngelis
This is my favorite of Peter Carey's books. Surprising and strange short stories.
Mckinley
Fantastical ruminations. A bit odd, a bit disturbing but food for thought.
Kathy
Wow-- surreal and thought provoking. These stories blew me away.
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22595
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Peter Carey was born in Australia in 1943.

He was educated at the local state school until the age of eleven and then became a boarder at Geelong Grammar School. He was a student there between 1954 and 1960 — after Rupert Murdoch had graduated and before Prince Charles arriv...more
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