Whitaker's Reviews > Parrot And Olivier In America

Parrot And Olivier In America by Peter Carey
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's review
Aug 30, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary-fiction, united-states, 2011-read
Read from August 05 to 16, 2011

Chairman: This meeting is now called to order. We are here to vote on the resolution: That Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey be given 5 stars. Will the representative who proposed the motion please explain why.

Tocqueville: Well, it is because this book is actually about me, and my travels in America. Peter, my good friend, thought it would be a good idea to write a fictional account of how I came to write Democracy in America. The aristocrat in the book, Olivier, is based on me. Parrot, the servant to Olivier, is a wholly fictional creation, but this allows my ambivalent views on democracy to be aired. While the two men start-off hating each other, they gradually build a relationship in the novel…

Moralistic Judgement: Sir, this is a book that promotes homosexual relationships! It’s a sinful piece of smut! Smut! Think of teh children!

Tocqueville: No, no, I mean that they become friends.

Moralistic Judgement: Smut, smut, smut! Why, and there are even lewd descriptions of physical congress between an unmarried man and woman in the book, not just once but many times. The servant of Olivier has sex with his mistress in the book, and they were never married. Instead of voting to give this book five stars, I propose that we ban it.

Tocqueville: Well, the book was written about a period where there was the notion of a common law wife, and…

Moralistic Judgement: You lie! I propose an amendment to the resolution. I propose that we add, “and that Twilight by Stephanie Meyer rawks!”

Chairman: Is there a seconder?

Edward Cullen: I second the motion.

Chairman: Passed. The motion now reads, “That Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey be given 5 stars and that Twilight by Stephanie Meyer rawks!”

Goodreader: No, I can’t vote for this resolution now. I want to give Parrot and Olivier in America five stars, but I’m not going to say that Twilight rawks.

Edward Cullen: First of all, let me say that Twilight is the best book ever, and that everyone should buy it and read it. Second of all, the fact that I get an ounce of gold for every purchase of the book does not in ANY way impact on my views. Third of all, it would be unpatriotic to vote for Parrot and Olivier in America because it’s written by an Australian, a citizen of a socialist, anti-capitalist country.

Moralistic Judgement: Hear, hear!

Edward Cullen: Fourth of all, Twilight has more pages than Parrot and Olivier and is therefore the better book. And there are no sex scenes in it.

Tocqueville: Well, what about the fact that Parrot and Olivier has more rounded, three-dimensional characters and better prose?

Moralistic Judgement: Talk to the hand, the face don’t wanna hear you no more.

Tocqueville: And there is a very chaste relationship between Olivier and a well-bred American woman.

Edward Cullen: Would the representative Tocqueville like to declare his affiliation with that supine country of frogs? I charge him with sedition and… and… being a lover of latte.

Goodreader: What does this have to do with the merit of the book?

Moralistic Judgement: {sticks fingers in his ears} La la la la la la la! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!

Chairman: Order, order! I propose that we adjourn this meeting so that we can go on summer vacation.

All: Aye!


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Reading Progress

02/09/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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message 1: by Grace (new)

Grace Tjan :D


message 2: by Manny (new)

Manny I'm glad to see that the good old Twilight-related dialogue review is still alive and well! I must write another one myself soon :)


message 3: by Ian (new)

Ian "Marvin" Graye Wow, August 22, 2011 was a productive day, there must have been something in the air.


Carol You are more entertaining that Oliver and Parrot.


message 5: by Ian (new)

Ian "Marvin" Graye Kitty wrote: "You are more entertaining that Oliver and Parrot."

I fear this is sad, but true, well, not sad from Whit's point of view, but Carey's.
I totally loved his short stories, but never felt any enthusiasm for his long-form fiction.
Not that I've tried very hard.


Carol This was my first Carey. I liked it well enough but not enough to recommend to people. the characters irritated me.


message 7: by Ian (new)

Ian "Marvin" Graye The real de Tocqueville is worth reading.


Carol I have thought about it now you have convinced me. Sort of like going to the horse's mouth to get the real scoop huh?


message 9: by Ian (new)

Ian "Marvin" Graye I thought he had a lot of insight into the America of now.
I'm surprised Carey can't get the tone right (or whatever) when he is dealing with the life of a writer who can be judged directly on what he actually wrote.


message 10: by Ian (new)

Ian "Marvin" Graye Still, **** from Whit shouldn't be sneezed at.


Carol I know. I put a lot of store in what he says.


message 12: by Whitaker (last edited Aug 23, 2011 06:50PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Whitaker Awwww, thanks, you guys!


Vivienne Wonderful inventive review of this splendid book.


Whitaker Thanks, Vivienne!


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