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Group Book Discussion > (Aug - Sept 2010) Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey

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message 1: by Lisa (last edited Aug 01, 2010 04:01PM) (new)

Lisa (lbhick) | 986 comments Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey by Peter Carey

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message 2: by LynnB (last edited Aug 18, 2010 06:00PM) (new)

LynnB | 1423 comments Just picked up Parrot and Olivier in America at the library. I have a few to read before it, but I should have it read by the end of the month.


message 3: by LynnB (last edited Oct 03, 2010 05:30AM) (new)

LynnB | 1423 comments Some things came up and I didn't get to reading this until almost the end of September. That being said, I have to say I read the first couple of chapters twice, but still couldn't get into it. The two main characters seemed to have the same "voice" and it was off-putting to me. Also, there were a few places that the story seemed to jump - I'd have to stop and think about it, where did it come from and where was it going? There were elements of the story that I liked (at least in those first few chapters), but not enough to hold my interest long enough. Too many other books I'm more anxious to read - this one I only read a few chapters of.


Cathy | 429 comments I just finished this on audiobook today. This novel is a wonderfully-written original adventure.

I had no prior knowledge of the life of Alexis de Tocqueville nor his writings on American society, whom this fictional novel is fashioned after. This being said, this fact does not preclude one from enjoying this accomplished novel. Carey weaves the voices and lives of two characters throughout his work in an intelligible, informative, and amusing way.

A sheltered, young, aristocratic French nobleman name Olivier de Garmont lives in France at at a time of political unrest. He is to embark on an adventure to the new America to investigate and write on the prison systems of this new land. His companion John Larrit(known as Parrot), son of a printer, printer/ engraver himself, and former prison inmate attends him as his servant, secretary, and travelmate.

The story shares their common experiences as they travel in the new America along with the developments of their separate lives. The class distinction between the individuals is very apparent at the start of the novel and becomes more blurred and indistinguishable as the story progresses.

Carey does an exceptional job with character development and the plot unfolds in a sort of meandering way. The two characters are exposed to a struggling nation in it's early formative years in the midst of of new democracy. This in itself should provide readers with a sense of adventure and wonderment about the early establishment of our country. It was a total pleasure to see these two characters experience all of this, while analyzing their lives, impressions, and viewpoints against the backdrop of early American history and at the same time living and making their own histories.


LynnB | 1423 comments Cathy wrote: "I just finished this on audiobook today. This novel is a wonderfully-written original adventure. I had no prior knowledge of the life of Alexis de Tocqueville nor his writings on American society..."

Based on your comments, I think I am going to have to try this one again. It does sound interesting.


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Parrot and Olivier in America (other topics)
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