Parrot and Olivier in America
Title: Parrot and Olivier in America
Author: Peter Carey
I’d like to recommend Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey. Olivier is a spoiled young French aristocrat whose parents send him to tour America when he threatens to dabble a bit too much in post-revolutionary politics. Parrott is the veteran of Australian penal colonies hired to accompany Olivier and keep him in line. Amazon describes them as a mid-nineteenth century Oscar and Felix.
Parrot and Olivier in America has been shortlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize.
From the two-time Booker Prize–winning author comes an irrepressibly funny new novel set in early nineteenth-century America.
Olivier—an improvisation on the life of Alexis de Tocqueville—is the traumatized child of aristocratic survivors of the French Revolution. Parrot is the motherless son of an itinerant English printer. They are born on different sides of history, but their lives will be connected by an enigmatic one-armed marquis.
When Olivier sets sail for the nascent United States—ostensibly to make a study of the penal system, but more precisely to save his neck from one more revolution—Parrot will be there, too: as spy for the marquis, and as protector, foe, and foil for Olivier.
As the narrative shifts between the perspectives of Parrot and Olivier, between their picaresque adventures apart and together—in love and politics, prisons and finance, homelands and brave new lands—a most unlikely friendship begins to take hold. And with their story, Peter Carey explores the experiment of American democracy with dazzling inventiveness and with all the richness and surprise of characterization, imagery, and language that we have come to expect from this superlative writer.