Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey - review by Jay Parini

Jay Parini

New World Orders

Parrot and Olivier in America


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Good novels are hard to come by, so I always welcome a fresh one by Peter Carey – a writer whose work I’ve read closely, usually with pleasure. Parrot and Olivier in America, his eleventh novel, ranks among his best, on a par with Illywhacker (1985), his darkly humorous early masterpiece, or True History of the Kelly Gang (2000), possibly his finest moment in fiction – although I harbour affections for such early (and quirky) novels as Bliss (1981) and Oscar and Lucinda (1988). 

Carey’s latest is a sprawling, energetic novel in the tradition of Don Quixote, although nearer at hand lies Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville, who in 1831 was sent off to America by the French government to study the prison system in the New World. As often

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