Bliss (1981)
in Peter Carey
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Peter Carey's first published novel capitalised on the success of his stories to exhilarating effect. Its anarchic narratology puzzled many reviewers, but as Carey's œuvre grows, its mix of satiric realism, fable, fantasy and manic cartoon quality seem entirely characteristic. After War Crimes was awarded the New South Wales Premier Award, Bliss received the same prize in 1982, as well as the Miles Franklin and the National Book Council awards. It became a well-received film in 1985, the year of Mad Max III's release, winning best picture, director and screenplay awards from the Australian Film Institute. Bliss was also shown as the official Australian entry at the Cannes Film festival. In Bliss, the hippy capitalists of 'War Crimes' were replaced by the conventional scenario of hippies versus capitalists, but with a complex sense of the contradictions which crossed these seemingly opposed cultures as Harry Joy is caught between the worlds.

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