A Long Way from Home

A Long Way from Home 1

by Peter Carey

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 30/10/2017

5/5 Rating 1 Reviews Add your review
RRP  $32.99 $25.99

Australia’s master novelist takes us on the race of a lifetime.

Irene Bobs loves fast driving. Her husband is the best car salesman in western Victoria. Together they enter the Redex Trial, a brutal race around the ancient continent over roads no car will ever quite survive.

With them is their lanky fair-haired navigator, Willie Bachhuber, a quiz show champion and failed school teacher whose job it is to call out the turns, the grids, the creek crossings on a map that will finally remove them, without warning, from the lily-white Australia they know so well.

This thrilling, high-speed story starts in one way and then takes you someplace else. It is often funny, the more so as the world gets stranger, and always a page-turner, even as you learn a history these characters never knew themselves. Set in the 1950s amid the consequences of the age of empires, this brilliantly vivid and lively novel reminds us how Europeans took possession of a timeless culture the high purpose they invented and the crimes they committed along the way.

Peter Carey has twice won the Booker Prize for his explorations of Australian history. A Long Way from Home is his late-style masterpiece.

Contemporary fiction
Paperback / softback
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Peter Carey

Peter Carey was born in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, and now lives in New York. He is the author of fourteen novels (including one for children), two volumes of short stories, and two books on travel.

Amongst other prizes, Carey has won the Booker Prize twice (for Oscar and Lucinda and True History of the Kelly Gang), the Commonwealth Writers' Prize twice (for Jack Maggs and True History of the Kelly Gang), and the Miles Franklin Literary Award three times (for Bliss, Oscar and Lucinda and Jack Maggs).

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

5 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • Reviewed by Robert@ Angus and Robertson Bookworld

    by on

    With this startlingly original and very moving novel, Australia's twice Booker-winning author returns to his childhood hometown, Bacchus Marsh, and a conservative rural culture of 1953. Women and indigenous people are powerless and damn-near invisible, and a blokey car culture prevails. Struggling car dealer Titch Bobs ropes his reluctant wife, Irene, into joining him on the Redex Reliability Rally, racing an arduous 9600 miles across Australia, taking their neighbour, the eccentric booky teacher, Willie as the navigator. The trip is a domestic romp and carries slabs of Dad'n'Dave bush humour and slapstick, with more than one nod to Carey's second novel, "Illywacker". Heroically, the quiet Irene prevails with true strength as the loud men and machines buckle. Throughout, the characters are portrayed with affection, brimful of authentic vernacular, and the details are nostalgic and witty.
    ...And then the book changes tone significantly....and follows Willie into the heart of indigenous wisdom and dispossession.
    The maps and chalkboards of white people have no power here. Whilst generations are stolen or enslaved, in the battle of whitefella/blackfella knowledge, the presumed lords of place and power are pretenders who cannot see to find their way even as they stand on the songlines. They live on stolen land full of mass graves, and cannot master their own cars.
    It is in this latter part of the book that Carey presents the most sensitive and vivid fictional portrayal of aboriginal culture that I've read by a non-indigenous author. This is electric, dark and deep; masterful and significant. It is risky writing, straight from the heart, and a chance to look again at our country, emboldened by being overdue. I'd give him another Booker for this part of the book alone.
    Ambitious, yet exquisitely achieved, "A Long Way Home" shows us, "our mother country is a foreign land whose language we have not yet earned the right to speak".