“Carey’s novel is smart, charming and original . . . He finds comedy in unexpected places . . . Scenes of [Parrot and Olivier] with their respective love interests are realistic and poignant, and Carey writes about American with a deeply felt but unsentimental sense of affection.”
—Michael Schaub,

Parrot and Olivier in America is a delicious, sprockety contraption, a comic historical picaresque . . . Like several of Carey’s previous novels, such as Oscar and Lucinda and Jack Maggs, his book has an eighteenth-century robustness, a nineteenth-century lexicon, and a modern liberality . . . There are few contemporary writers with such a sure sense of narrative pungency and immediacy . . . Parrot’s beefy patois, rich in pithy, prole Englishisms, gives Carey the chance to mobilize the kind of hybrid idiom, streaked in Strine, that he has used so brilliantly in the past . . . [This is a] blooming Australian–New English–New American novel.”
—James Wood, New Yorker

“This is Peter Carey at his best: playful, extravagant, yet fully in control . . . A rich and dazzling novel . . . Parrot and Olivier in America is a tour de force, a wonderfully dizzying succession of adventures and vivid characters executed with great panache . . . A splendid novel.”
—Andrew Riemer, Sydney Morning Herald

“Fizzing with the fictional panache that has twice won him the Booker Prize . . . Parrot and Olivier in America opens up Peter Carey’s most expansive fictional journeying yet . . . Some of Carey’s vignettes have a marvellously quirky inventiveness reminiscent of Dickens. The similarity extends into a zest for extravagantly wayward story lines, physical and psychological freakishness, ebullient comedy and (underscored by Carey’s awareness of his native Australia’s past) sharp consciousness of cruelty towards the underprivileged and cast out. All are generously on display in this exhilarating tour de force.”
—Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

“Although he’s won the Booker Prize twice, Peter Carey doesn’t quite match the American notion of a great novelist; for one thing, his books are too much fun. Shouldn’t literature taste more medicinal? . . . [Carey is] the kind of writer who consistently produces a satisfying, well-shaped, inventive and entertaining book every two or three years . . . Parrot and Olivier in America is amusing and wise and graceful to a degree that we almost don’t deserve . . . The debate between Olivier and Parrot is insoluble, but then fiction isn’t in the business of offering solutions; its mission is to coax us into feeling the breadth and depth of the question as it’s asked by human beings every day of their lives. Can Olivier (absurd yet endearing) survive in America, and can Parrot (embittered yet softening) thrive anywhere else? The trick of a great novel like this one lies in convincing you that you can’t bear to part with either one.”
—Laura Miller, Salon

“A brass-band burlesque of literature and history. Parrot and Olivier in America grabs its subject and marches down Main Street playing full out, provoking a reader’s delighted applause . . . Like most of Carey’s inventive, maximalist entertainments, Parrot and Oliver is replete with expressed feeling . . . Sentence for sentence, Carey’s writing remains matchlessly robust.”
—Thomas Mallon, New York Times Book Review

“Carey has twice won the Man Booker Prize and by all rights should be nominated for a third for Parrot and Olivier in America, a novel as big and bold as the country itself. This work showcases Carey at his finest, bringing together all his considerable strengths and obsessions . . . Carey [is] a sheer magician with language . . . He does a delicious job channeling Dickens with Parrot . . . The premise is ripe for laughs, and Carey plays them effortlessly but, as with earlier works, strikes just the right note in evoking the immigrant experience . . . He delivers a riot of unexpected plot twists and pleasures . . . Not since de Tocqueville has democracy been portrayed as the extraordinary, exhilarating gift it is . . . Parrot gets the last word, and it is an utter tour de force. Columbus might have discovered America, but with this new novel, Carey gives us the thrill of discovering his adopted home—our adopted home—all over again.”
—Ellen Kanner, Miami Herald

“Amusement and insight ensue as the narrative shifts between the perspectives of Parrot and Olivier . . . Carey uses the twosome to convey some articulate social and cultural observations about the theory, practice, and adventure of American history and democracy.”
—Gordon Hauptfleisch, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“Peter Carey is one of today’s best writers of literary historical fiction . . . The novel is full of lush detail, period lingo, and plenty of Dickensian coincidence and excitement.”
—Julia Ridley-Smith, Charlotte Observer

“It’s another feat of acrobatic ventriloquism, joining Carey’s masterpieces, Jack Maggs and True History of the Kelly Gang . . . Clearly, Carey read a whole library of history and biography to create this meticulously decorated 1830s world. . . Carey’s most marvelous invention is Tocqueville’s traveling companion, Parrot . . . It’s a brilliant alteration of history and a source of rich comedy in what quickly becomes an early 18th-century ‘Odd Couple’. . . The novel’s real pleasure is watching the development of this ‘most impossible of friendships’ . . . Outrageous and witty.”
—Ron Charles, Washington Post

“As much as Parrot and Olivier is a wickedly brilliant novel of events, it is also a tender paean to American democracy . . . To say that the novelis prodigiously researched is perhaps to miss the point. For while Carey is known for his at once wry and reverent take on historical fiction, and while his scrupulous study and vast knowledge of the 19th century is apparent on every page, it is rather the Booker Prize winner’s thoroughly unquantifiable ability to inhabit his setting that so distinguishes him as a writer . . . The electricity and pace is exhilarating.”
—Jillian Quint, Bookpage

“Odds are that more than a few people will be putting money down on Carey to be the first three-time Booker winner, based on the promise of his latest remarkable historical novel, Parrot and Olivier in America.”
—Norah Piehl,

“Peter Carey re-imagines Alexis de Tocqueville’s American journey with a verve that is nothing short of captivating. Parrot and Olivier in America is a rollicking debate about America and its opportunities, its society and class distinctions. Carey’s characters and landscapes breathe, resulting in a work that one hates to see come to an end . . . The observations and experiences of the two men are as rewarding as they are thought- provoking . . . Parrot and Olivier is one timely work of historical fiction.”
—Robin Vidimos, Denver Post

“Anyone who as followed his work over the years knows that Peter Carey is a wily seducer, a mental acrobat who can bound across continents and centuries and make us believe in whatever world he has discovered and imagined. Parrot and Olivier transports us to the rough-and-tumble America of 1830, and it’s possibly the most charming and engaging novel this demon of a story-teller has yet written. His prose has never been more buoyant, more vigorous, more musical. Open this book and listen to Peter Carey sing.” 
—Paul Auster

“Carey is as various, often as brilliant, and always as irreverent as they come . . . Alexis de Tocqueville’s 1830s observations of America’s new society remain largely acute, even prescient . . . Drag out the Olympian author from behind his Olympian book is Carey’s scheme; mischievous but with a serious underlay.”
—Richard Eder, Boston Globe

This is an exuberant, entertaining, incisive novel, full of attitude and incident, about ‘the great lava flow of democracy’ . . . My favorite Peter Carey book has been his 1997 channeling of Dickens, Jack Maggs. Now, with his bracing and often hilarious new novel, Parrot and Olivier in America, my favorite has a rival.”
—Robert Cremins, Dallas Morning News

“Carey braids his story carefully, lovingly. It has all his telltale favorite elements — lawlessness, revolution, hope for the future, men driven by passion. At its heart, Parrot and Olivier in America is a western; the simplest story in history, sculpted down to a twinkle in a philosopher’s eye: Man’s search for freedom.”
—Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times

 “This masterful novel manages to be focused and intimate. Against his rich backdrop, the author presents an intricately detailed portrait of an idiosyncratic friendship . . . Carey’s visceral recreation of Manhattan is a loving and messy portrait. But it’s the entertaining friction between his two alternating narrators that make this one of Carey’s best.”
—Scott Indrisek, Time Out New York

“Carey’s eleventh novel cranks its energy, like Don Quixote, out of the friction between two antipodal characters . . . [The novel] hums with comic adventure.”
—Boris Kachka, New York magazine

“A brilliant new work . . . What a novel! . . . Funny, bawdy, brainy and moving, Parrot and Olivier in America is an utter delight.”
—Annabel Lyon, Globe & Mail (Toronto)

“Peter Carey launches his latest novel with the hectic energy of a juggler spinning plates on a pole . . . I can only assure that once this novel grabs you, it holds you. Heart as well as brain. It’s the story of a long and improbable friendship, a romance, and a cracking adventure. A study of class and a sharp argument about democracy. A tragic-comic tale of how losers can become winners, and winners can blow their chances.”
—Jennifer Byrne, The Age (Melbourne)

“Peter Carey’s deliciously funny, sly and—best of all—beautifully composed portrait of that New World as seen through the eyes of an alarmed but often sympathetic European nobleman provides myriad perspectives from which to assess how truly revolutionary—and grotesque—the first blotchy blueprints of modern democracy must have been.”
Times of India

“A comic, well-observed and meticulously crafted narrative. Along the way, Carey says subtle but trenchant things about cabbages and kings and democracy and social class . . . Carey deftly and humorously brings debate into the narrative but seamlessly and organically within an immersive depiction of life 180 years ago.”
—Ed Taylor, Buffalo News

“Featuring well-developed and multifaceted characters, this book is rife with humorous details and turns of phrase, and the language is sophisticated . . . An engaging book.”
—Debbie Bogenschutz, Library Journal (starred)

“One of those comic masterpieces that seems effortless while making you realize that Carey writes some of the best sentences in English.”
—Tom Sleigh, New Yorker .com

“In his latest imaginative and commanding tale, Carey presents a brilliant and sly variation on the French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville . . . A thrillingly fresh and incisive drama of extraordinary personalities set during a time of world-altering vision and action . . . Carey’s transfixing novels are at once sharply funny and profoundly resonant. They are shaped by his sharp insight into the conflict between an individual’s will and circumstances . . . A master of the dual narrative, Carey has fastidious yet observant Olivier and shrewd and articulate Parrot take turns telling their astonishing stories in a picaresque adventure spiked with revelations personal and societal . . . Carey [is] remarkably fluent in history.”
—Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred)

“Richly atmospheric, this wonderful novel is picaresque and Dickensian, with humor and insight injected into an accurately rendered period of French and American history . . . Carey [is] eminently talented.”
Publishers Weekly (starred)

“Like most of Carey’s work, the novel is extraordinarily allusive and joyously inventive. The numerous themes are spiced with his gutsy carnality . . . A great deal of pleasure.”
—Lucy Daniel, Daily Telegraph

“Peter Carey continues to improvise and experiment at 66, and his recent run of books has been astonishing. Now Parrot and Olivier in America, a comic adventure that functions with equal brilliance as a novel of ideas, can be added to a hit parade of extraordinary sharpness and vigour . . .The new novel routinely achieves a kind of battered Shakespearean splendour . . . Luxuriously funny.”
—Leo Robson, New Statesman

“Good novels are hard to come by so I always welcome a fresh one by Peter Carey . . .  Parrot and Olivier in America ranks among his best, on a par with Illywhacker, his darkly humorous early masterpiece, or True History of the Kelly Gang . . . A sprawling, energetic novel in the tradition of Don Quixote.
—Jay Parini, Literary Review

Parrot and Olivier in America is such a literary work, even fuller than its predecessors of allusion, contrast, and comic contradiction, that there is always more to find: the more you bring to it, the more rewarding its insinuations, its unpredictable switches between satire, serious reflection, and plain fun. Like Oscar and Lucinda (not to mention Carey’s other works), it demands and repays repeated reading.”
—Tom Shippey, Times Literary Supplement

“Exuberantly Dickensian . . . Carey lets master and servant relate their often-boozy and bawdy adventures in alternating chapters, flourishing the language of the period with characteristic zest. Every scene smacks the senses.”
—Helen Brown, Daily Mail

“Peter Carey is a lyrebird of stunning prowess, a mimic par excellence . . . A dashing novel [of] beauty and intelligence.”
—Robert Epstein, Independent on Sunday

“A splendid new picaresque novel . . . The scenes describing Parrot’s early life are like Lorna Doone rewritten by Dickens.”
—Giles Foden, Conde Nast Traveller

“I finished Parrot and Olivier in America with unabated enjoyment . . . The language is vivid, forceful and poetic . . . There are terrific set pieces, such as the burning of the forgers’ house—moments Dickensian in their vividness . . . It’s a dazzling, entertaining novel.”
—Ursula K. Le Guin, Guardian

“An energetic and expansive novel that marks a return to the 19th-century picaresque mode of Carey’s Booker Prize–winning Oscar and Lucinda and True History of the Kelly Gang . . . It is the most sustained and enjoyable attempt yet by Australia’s leading living novelist to write about his adopted American homeland . . . Written with warmth and intelligence, this entertaining novel succeeds in transplanting to America a question that resonates in Carey’s fiction, as plaintively phrased by Parrot in his orphaned boyhood: ‘And who, I thought, will love me?'”
—Ludovic Hunter-Tilney, Financial Times

“What strikes the reader from the first sentence of this book is the extraordinary daring and assurance of Carey’s use of language. Images, lovely and terrible, linger long after the book is finished. What he does with words: the power and delicacy, the complex orchestration of colour and theme, seems impossible—more like music than language . . . But there it is: the glorious, supple prose propelling a narrative whose powerful intelligence lends it the strange, inevitable quality of myth . . . What an interesting progression it is that has seen the historical novel develop [into] the wild inventiveness and technical virtuosity that it assumes in the hands of writers such as Hilary Mantel and Peter Carey. In both cases the originality of the writing is so potent that it defies the arbitrary boundaries of literary genre.”
—Jane Shilling, Evening Standard

“[Tocqueville’s] extraordinary tale is rendered even more extraordinary in Carey’s retelling . . . The leading characters are beautifully drawn . . . A gripping portrait of Jacksonian American in all its wild variety.”

“A triumph . . . Carey’s ideas about America are translated into a fiction that is reminiscent—in inventiveness if not in style and tone—of Henry James’s novels.”
—Alan Taylor, Herald (Scotland)

“Carey’s imagination feels as freshly minted and limitless as ever . . . His ebullient powers of storytelling ring loud and clear.”
—Claire Allfree, Metro

“There are certain things you know you’re going to get from a Peter Carey novel: scale of ambition, narrative boldness, apparently inexhaustible imagination and fizzingly exuberant imagery. Even by his standards Carey’s 11th novel, Parrot and Olivier in America, has all these in abundance . . . There are scenes here as dramatic and as poignant as any Carey has ever written . . . Whereas most writers who attempt to evoke Dickens end up producing thin, tuneless versions of the original, there’s nothing cod, nothing timid about Carey. You don’t just get a few tinny triangles banging away with him; you get the whole orchestra blowing the roof off. At the same time, Parrot and Olivier contains some wonderfully funny moments . . . One hell of a ride.” 
—John Preston, Sunday Telegraph

Parrot and Olivier is a brilliantly written (as in viscerally descriptive rather than windy or florid) ripsnorter of a yarn that rings all the right bells (character, language, story, dialogue) . . . Carey doesn’t so much reanimate history by back-projecting modern-day concerns on to the past as make it come alive in lurid living colour . . . Carey is a canny yarnspinner, feeding backstory into the action with the skill of a fisherman. He possesses the singular voodoo that manages to fuse ornately descriptive prose with barrelling parallel narratives that are stitched with human intrigue.”
—Peter Murphy, Irish Times

“Ostensibly a re-vision of French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville’s journey to the New World, but really so very much more . . . Instantly compelling and with a bone-dry wit . . . The subtle transformation of the deeply complicated relationship between master and servant is utterly bewitching. As indeed are all of the relationships of Carey’s incredible cast of characters.”
—Helen Dargan, The Brisbane Courier Mail

“Peter Carey inhabits characters and takes on master-of-ceremony duties rather like an actor-director, orchestrating a large cast with apparent distance. He is a wily and supremely confident storyteller on a grand scale. Carey has produced a surreal and satirical account of the arrival of Christianity in Australia (the Booker-winning Oscar and Lucinda), a revision of Dickens’s Great Expectations from the point of view of Magwitch as a convict in New South Wales (Jack Maggs) and now, with no less ambition, a novel about the birth of democracy in America . . . Within the covers is a complex discussion of the philosophy of democracy, and yet Parrot and Olivier is most strikingly beautiful at its most elemental.”
—Russell Celyn Jones, Times

“Peter Carey is a master literary ventriloquist . . . [Parrot and Olivier in America] is an exuberant work of fiction full of verve and vivid minor characters . . . a delightful comedy of manners . . . This novel takes you on a rollercoaster journey across France, England and America and is never less than entertaining.  Be prepared for a rollicking ride.”
—Sebastian Shakespeare, Tatler

“I have been reading with astonishment and envy Peter Carey’s Parrot and Olivier in America . . .Carey is a writer I prize not only for his remarkable Dickensian plots but also for the brilliance of his style. He is a great mimic of very different voices. He has an admirable grasp of the period. He creates one memorable tableau after another, striking visual images that burn themselves into the cortex. He is the most exuberant stylist at work in English today.”
—Edmund White, Daily Telegraph

“Something of a departure for Carey, but a rewarding one . . . Carey has already won two Bookers: this evocative and often very funny novel could well be another contender.” 
Sunday Times

“A dazzling study of democracy and how it tests Olivier’s assumptions of the world.”
Emma Giacon, Bookseller

“An enticing romp through early America.”
—Melissa Katsoulis, Sunday Telegraph

“A lavishly staged, densely textured, entirely beguiling adventure . . . Every object Carey’s imagination chooses to touch is invested with a deeply passionate, urgent, intense liveliness . . . The abiding charm in this novel, and a rare and special charm it is, lies in the prose tucked away in almost every paragraph. [Parrot and Olivier] travel gleefully, lyrically, wondrously.”
—Mark Thomas, Canberra Times

“Carey dazzles his readers with his literary powers . . . He wakens all the senses.”
—Blanche Clarke, Herald Sun

“Carey’s most polished novel in a decade.”
—James Bradley,  The Australian

“If envy is any writer’s sincerest form of admiration, then I was sick with admiration on every page of this vigorous, lyrical masterpiece. The dramatic situations are struck off with hallucinatory force, the characters are coddled with tenderness and humor—and the distant past is made as present as a slap in the face. Peter Carey has long been one of the best writers in English; now he is even better.”
—Edmund White

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