The Tax Inspector (1991)
in Peter Carey
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The Tax Inspector is Peter Carey's most savage novel to date, and it captures Karl Marx's vision of the ravening effects of capital. The book takes us full circle back to the power-crazed psychopathic business world of 'War Crimes', but with the unsettling awareness that this is no longer fantasy. Carey paints a vitriolic portrait of social decay and disintegration, the collapse of communal ethics and the sheer rapacity of the business world consequent upon the global market economy of the late 1980s. As in Bliss, he links together two areas of urgent concern, rampant capitalism and child sexual abuse. The brutal story-line is matched by an urgent narrative, almost filmic in intensity, which, along with the urgency of the social issues, marks a dramatic and adventurous shift of direction for Carey's fictional practice.


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