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Individual Book Discussions > Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey

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message 1: by Mandapanda (last edited Nov 02, 2010 11:26PM) (new)

Mandapanda Hi! There a couple of people interested in discussing Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey. It was nominated this year for the Man Booker Prize and it's also being discussed at next month's First Tuesday Book Club (beginning December) on the ABC. Is anyone else interested?


message 2: by Dhitri (new)

Dhitri Ooooh, it's on my TBR and I intend to get to it end of November in time for the First Tuesday's Book Club...


message 3: by Mandapanda (new)

Mandapanda Exellent!!


message 4: by Mandapanda (new)

Mandapanda Polk wrote: "Has anyone started reading this?
My copy arrived a few days ago and I started it today and have promptly put it back on the shelf. I am yet to find the right 'mood' to read through a Peter Carey n..."


Haven't started yet Polk. I think I'll be getting round to it in December. Maybe you'll be more in the mood then!;D


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh guys you aren't filling me with enthusiasm and my copy hasn't arrived yet. :(


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I just received the 'Book book' message from my husband. Parrot & Oliver has arrived.


message 7: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (sophie714) I have always has this as a TBR - but haven't heard good things about it... Would like to know if it is worth it, when u have finished reading it...


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh the pressure. :P

Well we are going to have a chat about it, we should be able to come up with a few alternative views.


message 9: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (sophie714) Will be an interesting insight then :) ... no pressure... hehe


message 10: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 22, 2010 07:15PM) (new)

I'm 100 pages in and am releaved to find it a light, fun, easy read. A relief from some of the books I've been reading lately.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Polk wrote I am yet to find the right 'mood' to read through a Peter Carey novel. I have eight of his books, all bought with the intention of "finishing this one", but I never do. This one is the worst so far

I don't mean to laugh at the misfortune of others but I am glad to hear this one's that bad. See I used to be a good Australian and buy all Mr Carey's novels even though the one I managed to finish was terrible and the rest were DNF'd all over my house. But then I did read the unpunctauted snooze-fest that was the True History of the Kelly Gang and after I threw it against a wall I declared never again. I have now decreed that even if all the rest of the books in the world vanished in a puff of smoke and the only things left to read are Carey novels I won't read one (surely there are other hobbies, right?).

But I hope you all enjoy your reading and your discussion.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Ha ha thanks Bernadette. I am actually enjoying reading Parrot & Olivier, though I haven't been a big fan of Perter Carey in the past.


message 13: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (sophie714) Oh thats a shame that u didnt like the True History of the Kelly Gang Bernadette... I really liked it - but think it was more because it was the first version of the Kelly Gang story that I have read where it is actually from Ned's POV, not just a 3rd person narrative... oh well each to their own :)


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Well the world would be a dull place if we all liked the same things and I am glad his books have found loving homes (in this house he is the author who shall not be named as hearing it normally sends me into rant mode).


message 15: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (sophie714) hahaha... oh I relate! there are a few of those in my house too! hehe


message 16: by Dee-Ann (new)

Dee-Ann | 644 comments Bernadette wrote: "Polk wrote ... unpunctauted snooze-fest ..."

love that description!


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

For those of you interested, I am loving this book. I am no literary critic but I almost missed my train stop tonight I was so engrossed.


message 18: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 04, 2010 04:26PM) (new)

I hope someone takes up Polk's offer it would be a shame to have the book go unread. Everyone gets something different out of books. It was a book I loved but obviously everyone is different.

I am really keen to hear what the Tuesday Night book club have to say about it.


message 19: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (sophie714) I have :D

Can't wait to start reading it!. Thank you again Polk!!


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

Fantastic I am so glad you were able to take up Polk's offer. Well done guys.

I hope you enjoy it Sophie. If you watched the TNBC tonight they suggested the first 120 pages were a bit slow. I really didn't have any trouble with it, but it is a bit of a struggle getting to know Olivier. I think this is deliberate, he is an aristocrat, hiding their emotions & thoughts is what they do. That was my spin on it anyway.


message 21: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (sophie714) I have been wanting to read it for quite a while and from following this discussion it intensified the want.. Thanks Gail for the warning for the starting possible struggles... Will have to discuss it further when I have read it :)


message 22: by Dhitri (new)

Dhitri I decided to give up on the book after only 30 pages. It's not the book, it's me. Motherhood has finally caught up with me, particularly having to tend to a colicky baby. I am resorting to shorter reads, maybe re-read some modern lit classics, just to keep my reading going, but I don't think I can stomach a Peter Carey and it would be a shame for me to be reading this book half-heartedly. Sigh.


message 23: by Jacinta (new)

Jacinta Hoare | 62 comments I have put this one on my Summer reading Challenge List - I have had issues with Peter Carey's writing before but I thought I would give him another go given that 20 years or so have passed since I threw the last book that I tried of hi against the wall (Oscar and Lucinda if I recall correctly). Maybe both he and I have changed enough to have a meeting of the minds.


message 24: by Dee-Ann (new)

Dee-Ann | 644 comments I put this on my Summer reading Challenge too, and picked it up from the library yesterday. Read the first page, under the influence of the flu, and groaned as it contained words that I did not know. I may wait until my head is a bit clearer to tackle this book, but being this time of the year not sure if i am up to more tackling ... have enough tackling to do on the homefront.


message 25: by Jacinta (new)

Jacinta Hoare | 62 comments Dee-Ann wrote: "I put this on my Summer reading Challenge too, and picked it up from the library yesterday. Read the first page, under the influence of the flu, and groaned as it contained words that I did not kn..."

oh no, this doesn't bode well - now that I have recently dabbled in the world of Audio-books I might listen instead of read. (I still think its cheating though :)


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Jacinta it really isn't that bad in terms of unknown words and is really worth reading. Dee-Ann was obviously just struggling with the flu nothing makes sense then. The success of an audio book is dependent on who is reading it. I hope it is someone good, it definitely isn't cheating.


message 27: by Dee-Ann (new)

Dee-Ann | 644 comments Have started reading this book again, and it is a lot clearer, but I still am needing the dictionary more than usual. I think this is showing my lack of literatyre skills.

I had to look up the word 'congress' as I could not work out how 'human congress' could result in young parrot not being able to sleep. Alas, it not only has the definition I know of 'A formal assembly of representatives, as of various nations, to discuss problems' ... it also means 'Sexual intercourse'. I am not very world wise, as you can see.

I wonder which powers to be decided this would be a good word to use for both? Anyhow, I suppose in future it will add a lighter note when reading about the United Nations Congress, U.S. Congress etc..


message 28: by Dee-Ann (new)

Dee-Ann | 644 comments okay, now I am getting hooked into the book.


message 29: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (sophie714) haha! good to know... tis on my tbr list still but DEFINITELY at the top of the pile :D


message 30: by Dee-Ann (new)

Dee-Ann | 644 comments The part of this book which I found interesting and which lead to some discussion with others, was the discussion of 'rags to riches' belief in the US. I read (audiobook actuall) a book, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People: Easyread Editionwhich is a modern day comical account of an englishman who goes to the US and he too discusses it and it is interesting to view the concept 200 years apart.

Overall I enjoyed this book, but the ending left me wanting something else or more. I have no idea of what/how Olivier's life would hold in the future.


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

That is one thing I never feel the need for in a book of this sort. I like an open ended finish. Particularly with a novel that focuses so personally on its characters. Their lives are complicated and will continue to have trials and tribulations. Save the nice tidy finish for an adverture story. That could be me being a bit weird though.

Olivier never really fitted the American way of life.


message 32: by Dee-Ann (new)

Dee-Ann | 644 comments I agree a tidy finish would have been out of character, but I think I would have liked something with a bit of hope attached to it.

I agree about Olivier never fitting in, same with the author of the modern book I mentioned.


message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

I do know what you mean. When I first started reading the book I had the impression that Olivier was just a fop. He grows on you slowly until you really care about him. I felt very sorry for him in the end.


message 34: by Dee-Ann (new)

Dee-Ann | 644 comments 'Fop' is a good description of him, and he remained that way to the end. I felt sorry for him too, but I kept thinking he could easily change his life, just do something, enjoy something,step outside the square ... but not to be and I know many like that. I liked Parrot, but what would have become of his first wife ... that is probably something for another book, though perhaps by another author.


message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

I don't think he was capable of change as much as I might wish it. My reaction to Parrot was so different to Olivier. He held my sympathy from the start. He was so much more capable of change, able to fit into any circumstance that came his way. The contrast between the two characters was quite stark. Yet they were able to gain each other’s respect. I had forgotten about his first wife until you reminded me. I guess it was part of his life he just had to let go. This was the way he adapted to all the terrible things that were thrown at him during his life. By letting things go that he couldn't control. He was always going to succeed in America.


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