From the Bookshelf of 21st Century Literature

Parrot and Olivier in America
Start date
August 1, 2012
Finish date
August 31, 2012
2012 Book Discussions
Discussion leader
Why we're reading this
Winner of the August 2012 Moderator Poll

Find A Copy At

Group Discussions About This Book

* Links to 2012 Book Discussions
By Luella · 2 posts · 26 views
last updated Jun 16, 2016 02:28AM
* Index to 2012 Book Discussions
By Whitney · 35 posts · 43 views
last updated Jun 16, 2016 02:23AM
showing 2 of 2 topics    view all »
Other topics mentioning this book
This topic has been closed to new comments. Old Welcome Thread, Closed
By Logophile · 359 posts · 633 views
last updated Jan 02, 2015 08:43PM
This topic has been closed to new comments. Nominations – what to read: August 2012 – mod pick
By Will · 7 posts · 64 views
last updated Jul 21, 2012 01:30PM

What Members Thought

Sep 04, 2010 rated it liked it
I really dragged my feet about reading this. I needed a really good book after my 2 previous disappointments, and I also just purchased a used copy of Wild Sheep Chase. A Murakami I've been wanting to read! However I felt I owed it to Carey to at least try this, since it's a library book and I was on hold for quite awhile. So I'm especially pleased to find this is delightful so far!

Finished! The writing is exquisite, the story delightful. I wanted to wring Olivier's neck the first half, he's suc
What a romp through late 18th/early 19th century England, France, and the American colonies.

Carey alternates chapters written by his two characters Olivier and Parrot. Olivier is modeled after Alexis de Toqueville. How accurate the model is I cannot say, though I am actually tempted to read some Toqueville now--apparently if you know his Democracy in America, Volume 1, there are in jokes. Or something.

So, Olivier is a French aristocrat and mama's boy. Asthmatic, spoiled, generally unhappy, he lo
Dec 22, 2013 marked it as not-my-cup-of-tea-abandoned  ·  review of another edition
I can't say that I disliked this book, its just that I found myself hanging in there for a slow beginning than getting into it for a while and then losing interest again all before I got halfway through it. I just don't have the patience to continue through the book like this. I want to read Oscar and Lucinda by this same author and hope I have better luck with that one.
Kathy Pedersen
I have loved previous reads of Peter Carey. I listened to this instead of reading it myself, therefore, it may have suffered from red lights and terrible traffic (I have a long commute). I felt this novel didn't know if it waned to be informative about the time period (it was, and I loved this aspect) or if it wanted to be a casual treatise on French aristocracy and indictment of early American slavery. I was puzzled and the ending seemed intangible.
Really, I rank it more 2.5 stars. I will read
Jan 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
The embodiment of the ideas and reflections of Democracy in America in beautiful, novel form. At times as frustrating as de Tocqueville's commentaries themselves, Peter Carey masterfully transformed the keen, sweeping survey of the American experiment into a tableau of vibrant characters and complex plot. A much richer experience with some familiarity with de Tocqueville's work, do not read one without the other.
Mar 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
At the beginning it seemed like it was going to be kind of a comical 18th century coming of age story like Tristram Shandy, but that changed as it went along. I can't decide if that is a strength or a weakness, but I like the book either way.
Ashley Mastandrea
Jul 01, 2010 rated it it was ok
Didn't finish this one. Good characters but not enough forward movement for me.
Dec 13, 2011 rated it liked it
It improves. No really, maybe you'll love it the beginning. I hated the first third. But it improves significantly. Like the first third of this book is two stars. The middle is three and a half and the end somewhere between four and five.
May 23, 2017 is currently reading it
Sep 18, 2010 marked it as to-read
Dec 02, 2010 marked it as to-read
Jan 20, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
May 27, 2010 marked it as to-read
Apr 12, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Mar 05, 2011 marked it as to-read
Nov 27, 2010 marked it as to-read
Feb 06, 2016 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Paul Fulcher
Apr 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
Kai Coates
Dec 05, 2017 marked it as to-read
Glynis Jane
Oct 17, 2012 marked it as to-read
Sep 30, 2012 marked it as wishlist
Aug 11, 2012 marked it as to-read
Apr 09, 2012 marked it as interested-in
Nov 18, 2011 marked it as to-read
Jul 23, 2012 marked it as to-read
Mar 01, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Feb 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
« previous 1 3