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Parrot and Olivier in America

Parrot and Olivier in America 1

by Peter Carey

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 31/01/2011

4/5 Rating 1 Reviews
Parrot and Olivier in America is a dazzling comic masterpiece that reminds us why Peter Carey is Australia's most internationally acclaimed novelist.

Olivier is a French aristocrat, the child of survivors of the revolution. Parrot, the son of an English printer, is a restless servant. When Olivier sets sail for the New World - ostensibly to study its prisons, but in reality to avoid another revolution - Parrot is sent with him, as spy, protector, foe and foil. They are an unlikely pair, but where better for unlikely things to flourish than in the glorious, brand-new democratic experiment, America? And who better than Carey to show what Americans do not always wish to see- that their earliest observers included some who foresaw disastrous consequences for that experiment, well before they became headlines around the world.

A dazzlingly inventive reimagining of Alexis de Tocqueville's famous journey, Parrot and Olivier in America brilliantly evokes the Old World colliding with the New. Above all, it is a wildly funny, tender portrait of two men who come to form an almost impossible friendship, and a completely improbable work of art.

'If envy is any writer's sincerest form of admiration, then I was sick with admiration on every page of this vigorous, lyrical masterpiece. The dramatic situations are struck off with hallucinatory force, the characters are coddled with tenderness and humor - and the distant past is made as present as a slap in the face. Peter Carey has long been one of the best writers in English; now he is even better.' Edmund White

'This is Peter Carey at his best- playful, extravagant ... fully in control ... a tour de force, a wonderfully dizzying succession of adventures ... executed with great panache.' Andrew Riemer, Sydney Morning Herald

'Once this novel grabs you, it holds you. Heart as well as brain. It's the story of a long and improbable friendship, a romance, and a cracking adventure. A study of class and a sharp argument about democracy. A tragicomic tale of how losers can become winners, and winners can blow their chances.' Jennifer Byrne, The Age

'A lavishly staged, densely textured, entirely beguiling adventure ... The story strolls, spreads and sprawls at the same time as Carey's language sparkles and glitters.' Mark Thomas, Canberra Times

'Carey is at the peak of his powers.' Bookseller & Publisher

'Anyone who as followed his work over the years knows that Peter Carey is a wily seducer, a mental acrobat who can bound across continents and centuries and make us believe in whatever world he has discovered and imagined. Parrot and Olivier transports us to the rough-and-tumble America of 1830, and it's possibly the most charming and engaging novel this demon of a storyteller has yet written. His prose has never been more buoyant, more vigorous, more musical. Open this book and listen to Peter Carey sing. ' Paul Auster

'Two-time Booker Prize winner Peter Carey's transfixing novels are at once sharply funny and profoundly resonant ... In his latest imaginative and commanding tale, Carey presents a brilliant and sly variation on the French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville ... Remarkably fluent in history, Carey is ... empowered to create a thrillingly fresh and incisive drama of extraordinary personalities set during a time of world-altering vision and action.' Donna Seaman, Booklist

'I have been reading with astonishment and envy Peter Carey's Parrot and Olivier in America ... Carey is a writer I prize not only for his remarkable Dickensian plots but also for the brilliance of his style. He is a great mimic of very different voices. He has an admirable grasp of the period. He creates one memorable tableau after another, striking visual images that burn themselves into the cortex. He is the most exuberant stylist at work in English today.' Edmund White, Daily Telegraph

'Carey is a fabulous fabulist of epic intent ... high-spirited and mischievous, provocative and wily ... vastly entertaining ... A picaresque opus of the magnum variety ... This is a showcase novel of life and love and loss ... an inventive tale of great exuberance.' Murray Waldren, Australian Book Review

'The characters are magnificent ... Mystery, mayhem, women, wine and writing in the rambunctious world of the Americas. It is funny, tough and adventurous ... and a tender portrayal of how two men from wildly different backgrounds can come to be friends.' Ian Nichols, West Australian

'A book to stand beside the quintessentially Australian Illywhacker.' Adelaide Advertiser

'Instantly compelling and with a bone-dry wit ... The slow, subtle transformation of the deeply complicated relationship between master and servant is utterly bewitching. As indeed are all of the relationships of Carey's incredible cast of characters.' Helen Dargan, Courier Mail

'Marvellous ... A grand, magisterial story, full of great characters and stories. Above all, it is one of his most important books.' Mark Rubbo,

'The achievement of Parrot and Olivier in America lies ... in the mingling of hope and pain, loss and rebirth ... Sing s with passion and fury.' James Bradley, Weekend Australian

'To fans of Carey's writing I say 'hurrah', for those who haven't read his work, you're missing out on some of the most masterful prose and finely crafted writing of our times. Carey is to Australian fiction what Orson Welles was to theatre.' Riverbend Book

'Springy, rangy, alert, fertile, combining without strain contemporary and period tones ... And there is the restless inventiveness, and the humour.' Owen Richardson, Sunday Age

'The most sophisticated of his books to date, cosmopolitan and tonally impeccable.' Weekend Australian

'Richly atmospheric, this wonderful novel is picaresque and Dickensian, with humor and insight injected into an accurately rendered period of French and American history.' Publishers Weekly

'Worth an early punt for the Booker 2010 shortlist.' Alex Bilmes, GQ

'Carey has already won two Bookers- this evocative and often very funny novel could well be another contender.' Sunday Times

'Peter Carey is a master literary ventriloquist ... He offers us an exuberant work of fiction full of verve and vivid minor characters ... A delightful comedy of manners ... A rollercoaster journey across France, England and America ... never less than entertaining. Be prepared for a rollicking ride.' Sebastian Shakespeare, Tatler

'A delightful and dazzling study of democracy.' Bookseller, UK

'A wonderful, witty and profound insight into what happens when a tired and deflated Old World collides with the rambunctious and expansive New ... This is a complex yet readable novel, told by a master of the craft. Having twice won the Man Booker Prize, Carey is a strong contender for a third with Parrot and Oliver in America.' Alan Gold, Good Reading

'The guvnor of Australian literature has awesome technique ... Engrossing' Lucy Sussex, Sunday Age

'Carey dazzles his readers with his literary powers ... wakens all the senses.' Blanche Clark, Herald Sun

'A comedic and insightfuljourney to a new world ... This is a big book about big ideas ... a very funny book.' Sunday Tasmanian

'These are intricate, tragic characters, lively and memorable, quirky and stamped hard with a particular kind of ind
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

4 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • A Wonderful Read

    by on

    Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey had me shirking on housework in order to read more. Well drawn characters and a real treat to read. Mr Careys writing is superb and it is easy to immerse yourself in his story. I highly recommend it.

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