Parrot And Olivier in America – Peter Carey

parrot & olivierREAD FOR BOOKERTHON

Olivier, a French aristocrat,  sails for the New World with his servant Parrot

☁ “Olivier-Jean-Baptist de Clarel de Barfleur de Garmont is a young French nobleman who attends democratic lectures in his homeland and is suspected of being a spy. He is advised to move to away from the unwanted attention, as far away as America. He does so, taking with him John Larrit, aka Parrot as a secretaire, whose family printing business and therefore their hopes, went up in flames.

On the ship the men lament the friends and lovers they have left behind, though there are a few surprise re-appearances, and also new  turmoil and lustful adventures on the long voyage.

Once in the New World the men decide to investigate the penal system but struggle to agree upon their journeys and exploits, which more often than not turn out to be troublesome. The men quarrel and make up, collecting women and friends/enemies along their adventures.

The story is told in first person by Parrot and Olivier in alternating chapters, each portraying their unique perspective on events. Their trustworthy narratives highlight one of the book’s main themes, the class difference between aristocrats and commoners. In the New World they agree to arrive as friends rather than master and servant however, the way in which the men treat others and view the rules and laws of the land both at sea and on land demonstrates that behaviours related to class division are difficult to let go of.

I have traveled widely. I have seen this country in its infancy. I tell you what it will become. The public squares will be occupied by an uneducated class who will not be able to quote a line of Shakespeare.

☁ “Fabulous characters and good paced novel that is full of intrigue and adventure. However historical fiction is not my favourite genre, and I don’t think I paid as much attention as I should have to the intricacies that made the book noteworthy as both a literary and historical work. ” – Rachel

Published 2009
Hamish Hamilton
464 pages

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