From the Bookshelf of 21st Century Literature

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

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What Members Thought

Lori
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
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Dree
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
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Judy
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
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Elinor
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.
Nadine
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.
Deborah
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.
Greg
May 23, 2017 is currently reading it
Laura
Sep 18, 2010 marked it as to-read
Erika
Dec 02, 2010 marked it as to-read
Greer
Jan 20, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Marcia
May 27, 2010 marked it as to-read
N.T.
Apr 12, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Jenny
Mar 05, 2011 marked it as to-read
SarahC
Nov 27, 2010 marked it as to-read
Soscha
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
Mae
Sep 30, 2012 marked it as wishlist
Julia
Aug 11, 2012 marked it as to-read
Ellie
Apr 09, 2012 marked it as interested-in
Devin
Nov 18, 2011 marked it as to-read
MichelleCH
Jul 23, 2012 marked it as to-read
April
Mar 01, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Donna
Feb 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
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