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A Long Way from Home

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  2,893 ratings  ·  463 reviews
Over the course of his stellar writing life, Peter Carey has explored his homeland of Australia in such highly acclaimed novels as Oscar and Lucinda , True History of the Kelly Gang and Amnesia . Writing at the peak of his powers, Carey takes us on an unforgettable journey that maps his homeland's secrets in this extraordinary new ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 27th 2018 by Random House Canada (first published October 30th 2017)
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Sarah That cover is based off a historical picture of one of the cars during a Redex Trial race.
Simon Young Hi. This book definitely has aboriginal characters, in fact more than you might expect. It also beautifully paints Melbourne of the era. I am from Mel…moreHi. This book definitely has aboriginal characters, in fact more than you might expect. It also beautifully paints Melbourne of the era. I am from Melbourne (now living in London) and loved this book for many reasons - Melbourne, the treatment of aborigines, the Redex Trial itself which thrilled me at the time, Australian expressions...I could go on. Read it, I loved it. Simon(less)

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Average rating 3.54  · 
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Dec 21, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those suffering from insomnia
This is a momentous review. Why, you may want to know? Well, two reasons:

1) For the first time since I read A Little Life, I am bestowing a 1-star rating to a review. I have always thought of that "book" whenever determining if I should award 1 star. Do I hate this book as much as A Little Life? In all honesty, I do NOT hate this book as much as I hate A Little Life. How could I? But I still disliked this book to the point of... well, I'll get to that in reason #2 in a second. My point is, I'm b
Vit Babenco
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As usual Peter Carey peoples the pages of his offbeat prose with all sorts of oddball personalities…
This was Titch’s only fault, the belief he could have anything he wished. This is how birds fly into window glass, how women fall pregnant.

In style and playfulness A Long Way from Home somewhat resembles his early novel Illywhacker. On the side of plot the novel is about the national car race around the continent…
This is the atmosphere of the races:
Dwarfed behind the wheel, Mrs Bobbsey was cough
“There was no money in the Redex Trial. Two hundred lunatics circumnavigating the continent of Australia, more than ten thousand miles over outback roads so rough they might crack your chassis clean in half. . .

Now we would face the killer country. We would face roads with dust two feet deep. We would circle the whole of our murderous continent in the same car Joe Blow drove to work.”

I stand corrected! This is what I said in my original review: "Part of the fun of the particular Aussie editi
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My history of reading Peter Carey so far:-
Oscar and Lucinda 3 stars ( it was pretty good)
Bliss 5 stars (loved, loved, loved it!)
The Chemistry of Tears 1 star (great title)
Amnesia 4 stars ( it was good)

I think that means Mr Carey and I have an up and down relationship. A Long Way From Home was more on the down side.

The idea of the book sounded good - people racing cars around the Australian outback in the Redex Trial in the 1950's. The trouble was that that part of the book became boring. The cha
Feb 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: publisher, reviewed
I really struggled to read this book. Every once in a while there was some tidbit that piqued my interest and kept me from giving up on it, but I wasn't crazy about the writing style, pace or tone of the book. I was also sometimes flummoxed by Australian expressions. I'd round 2.5 rating stars up to 3. I think the author had good intentions but perhaps he is not the right person to tackle the history of the cruel and racist treatment of the Aborigines in Australia. By combining that history with ...more
Gumble's Yard
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
It is perhaps to the detriment of this book that I read it on my journey to and from the announcement of the shortlist for The Republic of Consciousness Prize for UK and Irish small presses. Any book by a long established, double Booker prize winning, elderly white male was likely to lack freshness and vibrancy when compared to the hardcore literary fiction and gorgeous prose on the long and shortlist for that prize; and the great authors and wonderful small presses I had the privilege to meet a ...more
Paul Lockman
Set in the early 1950s in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, the main characters are Irene and Titch Bobs, a happily married couple who want to be Ford dealers and set up their own car yard but Holden has recently emerged and is challenging Ford for supremacy. Irene and Titch decide to go on the Redex trial, a type of car rally that circumnavigated Australia and was quite popular at that time. Their neighbour Willie Bachhuber, a handsome schoolteacher who fancies Irene, ends up with them on the Redex tria ...more
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: c21st, 17review, australia
Of all the novels I’ve read by two-time Booker winner Peter Carey, this one is the best.  I romped through it, trying fruitlessly to slow down my reading so that it would never end.  Fast-paced, utterly engaging and full of trademark Carey eccentrics, A Long Way from Home is a comic novel which also reveals the slow dawning of Australia’s recognition of its real history.
A Long Way From Home is a story of an Australia long gone.  It’s set in the 1950s, an era of unbridled optimism and prosperity,
9th book for 2018.

The Commonwealth of Australia was founded under the concept of Terra Nullius. The Empty Land. No land was taken because no owners existed before the first white settlers arrived. This was obviously a fiction, but one only struck down by the Eddie Mabo case High Court in the 1980s, when Australia finally acknowledged prior black settlement of the continent (Mabo's grave was subsequently desecrated by angry whites).

I had almost no knowledge of aboriginal history growing up in Me
Apr 10, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This hardcover is signed by Peter Carey.
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Mad Max-less romp across the Australian continent. My busy schedule really struggled to induce this text into my life--it was hard! I left it for dead, left it as a joke, left it to do so much other stuff that did not include literature. It was EASY to LEAVE. Carey is a master at making things happen quickly, but perhaps it is the Australian way to leave us in dust clouds the entire time. Although I've even forgotten how it ends now, I do remember it is a narrative that ping-pongs (sometimes i ...more
A Long Way From Home, by Peter Carey is about to be published in the US and for that I say,
“Hurray, Yay, It’s about time”.

Do not be afraid to read this book because it is written by an Australian author and uses Australian idioms and discloses some ugly Australian history*. It is a GOOD book and worth the time to understand all of that.

Narrated in turn by Irene Bobs and Willie Buchhuber, it describes the preparation for, the running of, the results of, and the aftermath of the Tedex, a grueling
Ron Charles
What we want from two-time Booker winner Peter Carey is another propulsive Australian masterpiece like “True History of the Kelly Gang.” What we get is this opaque tale of spoiled affections and disinterred racism called “A Long Way From Home.”

Not that you’d know that from the novel’s jaunty opening or snazzy dust jacket. The early chapters, set in postwar Australia, feel like the setup for a rom-com road race. One of the novel’s two narrators is irrepressible Irene, wife of Titch Bobs, the grea
Joy D
This is a book about a race and racism. Set in Australia in the 1950s, the plot revolves around a couple, Irene and Titch Bobs, entering the Redex Trial, a car race around the perimeter of Australia, starting and ending in Sydney. They add a navigator, Willie Bachhuber, their neighbor, teacher, and trivia quiz master. The story is told by Irene and Willie, in alternating segments.

The first half of the book focuses on the setup for entering the race and the first part of the race itself. It then
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-top-five
This book really is two books within one. The first part is an exploration of white Australian culture and its enduring motifs including cars, masculinity and yobbo culture. Carey interrogates how those who don't fit into this might navigate the Australian way of life.

But these perceived struggles between masculinity and feminism, as well as yobbo culture and intellectualism are only part of any exploration into Australian culture. History tells us that Australian culture has been built over the
Mel (Epic Reading)
DNF @ 15%
If you’re thinking that 15% isn’t enough to know if a story is good or not, then I agree. It is however long enough to know that the style and delivery of the story is not for you.
Peter Carey has used a style here that is reminiscent of painful required readings in school. With first person viewpoints that mix dialogue, thoughts and descriptions all together you have to really pay attention to get the juicy details out. For me, these days, unless I’m instantly drawn into the story I am
Rosemary Atwell
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absorbing, fearless probing of the 1950s Australian psyche when whitefella post-war optimism ruled and the secrets of the country's dark heart were yet to be openly acknowledged. The unfolding of the novel's central core is masterful - if this doesn't want to make you go back and revisit the entire Carey canon, nothing will. ...more
The author uses the Redex Trial, a car race around 1950s Australia, as the vehicle (excuse the pun) for several different story lines: the dissection of the marriage of Irene and ‘Titch’ Bobs; the gradual unearthing by their navigator, Willie Bachhuber, of who he really is; and an exploration of the appalling history of the treatment of the aborigines and their culture.  For me, the parts involving Willie and his journey of discovery were more compelling than either the events of the race or the ...more
May 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of good material, but the story meandered rather than being sharply focused, and I couldn’t quite believe in the main female protagonist.
this book overall didn't do it for me, was good in parts and others were average ...more
Jun 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-reviews
Earlier this year, in the depths of winter, I went to Dublin for a long weekend, specifically to see Peter Carey in conversation with Joseph O’Connor at the Pepper Cannister Church on Upper Mount Street. It was essentially the Irish launch of his latest novel, A Long Way from Home, which has since been longlisted for the 2018 Miles Franklin Literary Award.

It was an entertaining evening — albeit very, very cold (even with the heating on, the church was akin to sitting in a giant refrigerator and
Katie Lumsden
Maybe 3.5. I enjoyed some sections of this a lot, and the writing style was really interesting - but overall I found it a little confusing and unfocused. I also found the ending somewhat unsatisfying. So, a lot of great themes, a really interesting narrative style, but in the end it didn't quite deliver for me. ...more
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I knew nothing about the Redex Trial, a round-Australia competition to test out cars and gain publicity for them, until reading this book, which is set in the 1950s, but this brings it to life. This novel is so well-written it's hard to stop reading it. Told in alternate chapters by Willy, a young man who has fled his wife and child in Adelaide to become a teacher in the remote Bacchus Marsh in South Australia; and Irene Bobs, Willy's next door neighbour, wife of 'Titch' (an aspiring car salesma ...more
Mary Lins
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: complete
Character is everything in Peter Carey's twisty new novel, "A Long Way From Home", and we are treated to some unique character types; from real jerks, to humorous caricatures, to deeply moving “real” people. This cast will stick with you for a long time.

Set in Australia in 1953 and ‘54, the novel is narrated with alternating points of view between Irene Bobs, a modern wife and mother, and her quiz show prize-winning, next door neighbor, Willie Bachhuber, who possesses many secrets – some that h
lucky little cat
Just beautifully written, and hard to put down. A window into 1950s Australian outback culture. Quiet rebels don't clip their setting hens' wings; junkyard salvage is proud making-do; win a gruelling cross-country car race and you'll be set for life. Also a window into how indigenous Australians were treated, and therefore relevant here now and everywhere always.

keywords: love triangle; kind neighbors; explosive father-in-law from hell; he's not an oddball, he's our brilliant navigator; my butt
Chris Hall
It was an up and down experience reading this book. I loved the voices of the two main characters, Mrs. Bobs and Willie Bachhuber, who each tell the story in the first person in (mostly) alternating chapters. I loved the scenery and the description, and the 1950s setting, but the book as a whole didn't entirely work for me. Nor did I really get the professed humour.

The author uses the backdrop of the Redex Trial (an extreme saloon car race around Australia) in which Mrs. Bobs, her husband and W
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book that captured Australia in the middle of the 20 th century at a time where the outback was remote, Australia was developing its obsession with motor cars, patriarchy was beginning to be tested and most importantly the full impact of the Stolen Generation was being felt. Carey weaves all of these themes meticulously into a plot that is simultaneously entertaining and sensitive.
Sue Gerhardt Griffiths

I must say this book took me by surprise, I didn’t expect to enjoy it at all however, I kind of loved it. Aboriginal history and culture, The Redex Trial Car Race, the quirky characters and the 1950s setting kept me engaged from start to finish. A profound and complex novel written beautifully.

*Book #3 of the 2019 Aussie male author challenge
Chaya Nebel
This is a character-driven novel which takes place in the 1950s Australian small-town life. I felt very engaged by the characters. They were an interesting motley group of personalities, the most prominent being Willie, Irene and Titch. The premise is also interesting.The idea of following these 3 very different people whose lives collide interested me, so I finished the book, but I have to say it didn't really provide a satisfying read. I didn't know that much about Australian history and all t ...more
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Like other contemporary Aussie writers such as Tsiolkas and Winton, Carey doesn’t hold back on his views regarding the racist and murderous legacy of Australia. He will pick away at the historical scabs, but like these writers, he shares a profound love of the country too and it comes through in his detailing of the climate, the landscape and all of the wonderful treasures it holds within. His vast knowledge and thorough research really bring the text alive, and also show his sympathy and respec
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Play Book Tag: A Long Way from Home by Peter Carey - 3 stars 1 7 Nov 07, 2020 10:37AM  

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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

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