This morning I took the dog for a walk, and even though I’m back in inner-city Leeds for the summer, I found myself longing for books about wild places.
The Ridge, where I walk the dog, is so unbelievably green and the weather has been so muggy and humid and close, that all I want to do is sack off Parrot and Olivier and read books about the Amazon instead.
Maybe I’ll retreat back to childhood (appropriately, whilst I’m back at my parents’ house) and seek out Journey to the River Sea.#books #reading #Parrot and Olivier in America #Peter Carey #Journey to the River Sea #Eva Ibbotsen #lit
Review: Parrot and Olivier in America
I’d heard really good things about this book. It kept coming up on my Amazon recommended section (and as we know, I struggle to ignore anything that stays there for very long), plus it won various awards. Or was shortlisted for them. Or something. Anyway, the point is that this book was supposed to be good. And it just wasn’t.
My issue was mainly with the style, rather than the subject matter, which was interesting enough I suppose. Carey’s writing just feels messy, with little unity in the structure. The storytelling is all over the place, and this makes it difficult to follow and easy to put down.
And the problem with books that are easy to put down is that at some point you will have to pick them up again. Unfortunately, due to this particular book’s lack of real form, every time I did pick it up again, I had absolutely no idea of where I was. I’d read four pages before realising that I’d already read them once before - and on top of that they seemed just as untidy and samey as they had the first time.
What doesn’t help all of this is that the novel is told in the first person by two characters - Olivier, a French nobleman, and Parrot, an English vagabond/butler/anything else that’s going. But Carey seems to not be a skilled enough writer to create noticeable differences in the voices of the two men. Their similarity in tone and style only adds to the general feeling that the whole novel is just one long ramble.
Final Word: Make it two-thirds of the length by cutting out the waffle, refine the voices of your characters, and maybe we’ll talk.#Parrot and Olivier in America #Peter Carey #lit #reading #books #book review #review