Searching for the past

Title: His Illegal Self

Author: Peter Carey

Publisher: Faber and Faber

Reviewer: Lindi Obose

Imagine the excitement of meeting your mother for the first time after many sleepless nights. But when you finally meet her you are surprised by how different she is from what you have imagined.

In His Illegal Self, Che is brought up by his maternal grandmother but picks up information about his parents from people around him.

With the help of Cameron, a teenage neighbour, Che sees a picture of his father, Cameron, in a magazine.

Then one day, the elevator to his grandmother's apartment surprisingly reveals a rebellious young hippie who has come to collect him. She has honey-coloured skin, tangled hair in 15 shades and Hindu necklaces and little silver bells around her ankles.

Her name is Dial and she promises to lead Che to a big surprise.

They end up hopping from city to city across the US, and eventually arrive at a remote area of Queensland, Australia. Slowly, you begin to realise what has really happened to Dial and Che, and how they have come to share this mysterious journey.