Voices. I almost want to read Peter Carey’s novel, Parrot and Olivier in America, a second time to see if I can understand how he did it. Carey presents a fictional character, French aristocrat Olivier-Jean-Baptist de Clarel de Barfleur, based on Alexis de Tocqueville, and sends him off to America to flee the troubles in late 18th century and early 19th century France, paired with a servant John Larrit, known as Parrot. What Carey does so expertly is present their contrasting voices and places in society with great care, and the selection of the perfect words and descriptions at every turn. The supporting characters and their relationships are presented both in the context of their time, and with a immediacy that readers will recognize as modern human behavior. So how does Carey do it? How does he use a historical setting to write a modern novel? Beats me, but this is fine writing that most readers are likely to enjoy.
Rating: Four-star (Highly Recommended)
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