Just read, Parrot and Olivier in America, Peter Carey



Slightly puzzled by this. I thought I’d enjoy it more than I did. It was mildly entertaining and I was hoping it’d be a riot. I’ve had this book on my shelf for a couple of years at least, bought it as it had good reviews. Not sure if I’d read any de Tocqueville at the time I bought the book or was aware that Olivier from the title was loosely based on Alexis de Tocqueville and his travels in America but it became obvious as I read on (I’ve read bits of de Tocqueville since). So, I suppose that made the book intriguing but as I read on, it just felt like the books’ ideas didn’t go very far or were fully developed. Perhaps it was the slightly flowery prose or perhaps it was the chopped up narrative that switched between Parrot and Olivier, some of it felt written for a comic effect that, to me, just was not very funny. Of the characters, I was more interested in Parrot and thought a book of his life would have made a far better read. What really puzzles me is how this got shortlisted for a Booker? Perhaps it was not such a great year for books and perhaps I’ve also been spoilt recently by some pretty great books that this really paled in comparison.


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