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Peter Carey’s second appearance at Writers on the Record was to talk about his eleventh novel, Parrot and Olivier in America, a historical tour-de-force inspired by Alexis de Tocqueville’s actual journey to our new, young democracy in the early 18th century. De Tocquevilles’s stand-in is the French aristocrat Olivier Jean Baptiste de Clarel Barfleur who is forced to flee post-Revolutionary Paris, armed only with a vague plan to study American penal systems. But accompanying him into exile is an older British servant who has been contracted to look out for the snobby, effete Olivier. The personal histories and tortured relationship of these two opposing men - who loathe each other equally – is what enlivens this poignant, hilarious, and insightful epic. The dialogues and personalities encountered are pure Peter Carey, always entertaining.
Two-time winner of the Booker Prize (for Oscar and Lucinda in 1988 and True History of the Kelly Gang in 2001), Australian-born writer Peter Carey is brilliant, hilarious, and wildly imaginative. This rollicking novel—his ninth—begins in an Australian backwater and careens through the heady art-world of Manhattan and Tokyo in the 1980’s. Narrated by formerly famous painter “Butcher” Boone and his mentally challenged brother Hugh, the story unfurls a net of intrigue, greed, deception and obsession, thanks to the sexy, mysterious Marlene. Carey’s other books, including My Life as a Fake, Jack Maggs, Illywhacker, Wrong About Japan, Bliss, The Tax Inspector, and The Unusual Life of Tristran Smith, have collectively proved him to be an endlessly-inventive author who gives a fun interview.