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Oscar and Lucinda
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Oscar and Lucinda

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  13,193 ratings  ·  543 reviews
Peter Carey's Booker Prize winning novel imagines Australia's youth, before its dynamic passions became dangerous habits. It is also a startling and unusual love story. Oscar is a young English clergyman who has broken with his past and developed a disturbing talent for gambling. A country girl of singular ambition, Lucinda moves to Sydney, driven by dreams of self-relianc ...more
Hardcover, 511 pages
Published 1988 by University of Queensland Pr (Australia)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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mark monday
technicolor and wide-screen in scale and spectacle, quirky and consistently surprising in characterization and incident. virtually a catalog of bizarre imagery, you-are-there historical detail, and way-off-center characters. so many beautiful sequences linger on in the mind, so many wonderful characters, such a surprising lightness of tone, such gorgeous prose... it all almost, but not quite, causes the reader to forget the bleakness at this novel's core. strange, compassionate and, finally, tra ...more
Kristina A
Jan 26, 2015 Kristina A rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like novels set in the 19th century and unhappy endings
For the past few years, I've thought about endings a lot. I've excused a lot of novels (esp contemporary ones) for bad or unsatisfying endings. Some novels end in a way that goes against all you've learned from the novel; others just... stop. Then there are the "conservative" endings of Victorian novels that many scholars complain "shut down" or tidy the "subversive" or threatening ideas raised in the novel. Lately I've found myself arguing against this complaint, because even if a novel ends co ...more
I definitely expected to like this book a lot more than I did, based on another Carey novel I remember loving years ago (True History of the Kelly Gang). The difference, for me, comes down to tone and characterization. While I liked the title characters in Oscar and Lucinda well enough, I wasn't terribly attached to either of them by the end. And something about the tone of this novel I disliked: there's a certain balance (or in my opinion, imbalance) between serious drama/tragedy and comedy/wit ...more
This is my second Carey, and though it doesn't top the voice or language of my first (Parrot and Olivier in America), I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend it and now consider myself a fan.

I like his odd premises and vivid detailing and devious humor and quirky characters; I occasionally become disoriented while following their digressive journeys, but so far the crisscrossing paths have always come clear and he's never lost me.

Central to this trek is a mid-nineteenth century and long voyage to Sy
Aravind P
“Writing long books is a laborious and impoverishing act of foolishness: expanding in five hundred pages an idea that could be perfectly explained in a few minutes" Jorge Luis Borges

“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
― Dr. Seuss

What a pity. There hasn't been a book that has annoyed me as much as this one. I can't take this prose style anymore. It talks about 2 "outcasts", I couldn't find a plausible reason other than their own assumpti
Nancy Oakes
no spoilers; just synopsis

a) don't see the movie unless you read the book...something gets really lost between the two

b)Excellent, simply excellent!!! I would recommend this book to anyone who appreciates superlative writing and a quirky story. If every book were like this one, I would be in Heaven!!!! The prose is outstanding and these characters are simply so real I thought they'd float off the page.

Oscar and Lucinda is set both in England and in Australia in the 19th century. In England, Osca
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
lucinda has a fond memory of glass and buys a glassworks factory with her inheritence.
oscar has fond memories of 'truth' and seeks a path divined by god.
they are both lonely, gamblers and meet on a boat.
Michael Walkden
Jul 06, 2012 Michael Walkden rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michael by: Will Eaves, China Mieville
The Rushlight List - A novel for each and every country

This was a slow read. Five-hundred pages shouldn't have been too daunting to a regular reader of epic fantasy, but I have to say that after the first few it was clear to me that Oscar and Lucinda was no page-turner. However, I was determined to persevere - not only is this the Rushlight selection for Australia, but I'd also had it recommended by tutors Will Eaves and China Miéville as being thematically relevant to a project I'm working on
Colleen Stone
It's such a while since I read this book but it's right up there among my all time favourites.

Oscar and Lucinda are such improbable characters ... Unfit for the world on so many levels but with robust conviction in their own world view. While they should both be cowering forlornly in some remote and dimly lit place, they embark on a mad mission with the sort of passion we all hope to experience at least once in our lives but probably never will.

The Prince Rupert's Drop that so impresses the yo
Although I had heard of Parrot and Olivier in America, I wasn’t really familiar with Peter Carey before I ran across Warwick’s review of Illywhacker which you can find here. That review made me want to read some Carey, but I wanted to start with his most popular work which, according to GR ratings, is Oscar and Lucinda. It started out a bit slow, but gained momentum as I read on, so I’m glad I stayed with it. The writing is wonderful and the beautifully drawn, vivid and nuanced characters give ...more
3. What a wonderful novel. I'd forgotten all the story's intricate plot and about how Carey creates an Australian universe of characters with secret agendas and shames. It has gambling, religion, repression, and love. If you're looking for a good "book from every continent" book, this might be the one for you.

2. I want to reread more books this year. Less chasing of new things while still remaining current, but slowing down and experiencing books I said I loved to see if I still do.

1. I read thi
When I started this book I knew I was in for something different. Two gamblers fall in love and conspire to transport a glass church across the outback in colonial times? And it's good? Yes, it is good.

Peter Carey's Oscar and Lucinda was a great trip for me. I loved being immersed in the details of the 1850s and 1860s. I especially loved being immersed in the details of the mind from this period. This is not a simple love story. The characters feel deeply about many things, and have many differ
Julie Tridle
I've considered giving this book a fifth star. The writing was pretty much perfect, the story unique and the characters interesting and memorable. I also know I've given five stars to books that weren't nearly as well-written. I suspect I'm being stingy with that final star because the book didn't keep me riveted. It's not really a book you read to find out what will happen next but to take in and savor what you are reading now, and I'm not sure it's fair to punish a book for that. Still, I will ...more
Loving it so far. "Oscar and Lucinda are two of the most perfectly realised characters in modern fiction. An immensely skilful and absorbing juxtaposition of a gently comic, obliquely ironic, and deeply compassionate vision of human existence."
Beautiful. Carey uses language here like a musical instrument. So different from Theft or My Life as a Fake, it flows and meanders, gently blending together subplots and characters until the inevitable conclusion.
OSCAR AND LUCINDA. (1988). Peter Carey. ***.
This was Carey’s Booker Prize winning novel set – mostly – in Australia, although it takes a while to get there. Although he has been a long-time resident of the U.S., the books he writes based on his experiences in Australia, his native land, seem to be more alive than those using other countries as the backdrop. I suspect it is because of the almost infinite number of details that he seems to be able to drop into the story line that maintain the rea
I didn't read any reviews until I was more than halfway through the book, so I knew by then that the event most of them here mention - the wager on the glass church - is not at the centre of the story. If I had been reading Oscar & Lucinda waiting for that I most certainly would have been disappointed. I WAS disappointed when I saw that many (most) reviewers on Goodreads gave great reviews to the book... because I'm deeply ambivalent about Oscar & Lucinda, which I WANTED to like much mor ...more
Oscar and Lucinda was constructed like a house of cards: slowly and carefully. Just when the house of cards had reached near perfection, Peter Carey gave what I perceived to be a malicious smile, and started to deconstruct his creation. I could only sit dumbly as he started pulling cards off the top. Then after a while of that, he unemotionally took a deep breath and... blew the whole thing over; leaving me in the midst of the ruins, unable to close my gaping mouth.
I knew it ended unhappily bef
Courtney H.
Oscar and Lucinda is a feat. It is a huge accomplishment, and you are aware of that as you read it (I think I mentioned Midnight's Children is a bit like that; it is even more prominent in Oscar and Lucinda). The book is meticulous. Carey paints a careful, rich landscape of backwater England and Australia in the mid 1800s -- not only the physical attributes, but a landscape of culture and society. Carey must have been entrenched in his research, because he entrenched me, as a reader, in his back ...more
Jan 31, 2011 Andy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Andy by: The Booker Prize
Shelves: 2011, prize-winners
The second of Peter Carey's books which I've read, both Booker prize winners. Recounting the historical tale of the two title characters we journey from England to Australia in the mid 19th century.

It's a harsh and vibrant world, populated by an extraordinary cast of well composed characters. Oscar's battles with hardline religion, gambling addiction and constant lack of self confidence and insight are shadowed and reflected in the passions and restrictions Lucinda imposes on herself. Carey pai
Peter Carey is a brilliant writer. That statement, though simplistic, must be made. I adored the narrative strategy of this book--of a young person recounting ancestors and history. But the best thing about it, for me, is that each character who enters the space if this narrative is respected as a character, and we see over and over again that each person has her own individual life,and a whole world of ideas in her mind, even if she is just a minor character to the two titular characters. And b ...more
Susan Wilson
I'm done with Peter Carey. I read True History of The Kelly Gang a few years ago and thought it was disappointing (and then forgot I had read it and started again, only realising it felt very familiar after I had waded through 100 or so pages), why or why, did I think I would enjoy Oscar and Lucinda? It was dull and the characters were not believable or remotely likeable. I'm dumbfounded it won the Booker Prize and bemused it has such strong reviews on this site. The only thing that kept m ...more
Destinee Sutton
When I read this book I was more depressed than I've ever been. I was on the verge of quitting the Peace Corps and loathing myself for it. Then I read Oscar and Lucinda and ended up completing my service and feeling great! Just kidding.

Even though it didn't improve my circumstances or self-esteem, this book was like a gift. It's a beautifully told, terribly sad story. I'm afraid to read it again because I don't think I'll ever feel as strongly about it as I did in Namibia.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Nov 04, 2008 Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: Booker Prize Readalong
From the Christmas pudding that changes everything to an increasing fear of mold, there were bits and pieces of this novel that made me laugh out loud. I didn't care much about the plot or setting, and Carey rambles on a good 100 pages more than necessary, but the characters did remind me of Dickens as others have said. Everyone is flawed, nobody is a hero, and nothing really works out. A classic.
In order that I exist, two gamblers, one Obsessive, the other Compulsive, must meet. A door must open at a certain time. Opposite the door, a red plush settee is necessary. The Obsessive, the one with six bound volumes of eight hundred and eighty pages, ten columns per page, must sit on this red settee, the Book of Common Prayer open on his rumpled lap. The Compulsive gambler must feel herself propelled forward from the open doorway. She must travel toward the Obsessive and say an untruth (altho ...more
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Ben Y.
Oscar is a priest, Lucinda an heiress with a glass factory, both addicted to gambling. Lucinda bets Oscar that he can't transport a glass church 400 miles overland through the Australian wilderness, and Oscar takes the bet. It's a good premise.

I read this book in high school English - or rather, read part of it. I was a conscientious student and avid reader, but I never managed to make it all the way through. The story is sad and sensuous and the writing, while delightful in small doses, was sim
Alison O'keefe
I have to say, I could not stop reading this book. I couldn't quite understand what I enjoyed about it until half way through where there was a paragraph given to what I thought was 'the point' of the story - which up until then had been a bit boring. Being so excited by my realisation of what drew me into the book I eagerly kept reading, only to find that what I thought 'the point' was - wasn't. I still really don't understand what this unnecessarily tragic story was meant to be about and I don ...more
I caught a radio program of CBC Radio the other day. It was on the state of books and publishing. Apparently, last year 200,000 books were published in the U.S. alone, and 20,000 in Canada. And here in Canada, for every book accepted for publishing, 100 were refused. Those are discouraging figures for writers, but also adds anxiety for readers. There are so many books to chose from, and so little time. And apparently, this reader anxiety is widespread. I can relate!

I didn't like this story, so t
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Peter Carey was born in Australia in 1943.

He was educated at the local state school until the age of eleven and then became a boarder at Geelong Grammar School. He was a student there between 1954 and 1960 — after Rupert Murdoch had graduated and before Prince Charles arriv
More about Peter Carey...
True History of the Kelly Gang Parrot and Olivier in America Jack Maggs Theft: A Love Story The Chemistry of Tears

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“To know you will be lonely is not the same as being lonely.” 26 likes
“You could not tell a story like this. A story like this you could only feel.” 22 likes
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