Daily Archives: October 20, 2010

Parrot and Olivier in American by Peter Carey

Another critically acclaimed book that left me cold: Parrot and Olivier in America is the story of the sheltered but open-minded aristocrat Olivier and his unlikely British valet Parrot thrust  into the New York of the early 19th century, each narrating their lives and observations. I liked the clueless but mostly sweet Olivier (perhaps despite the author’s  efforts!) and it’s hard not to be taken in by the story of Parrot’s early years as a printer apprentice. But on the other hand the Toqueville-like ramble to America is rather tedious, the constant references to class differences (and how class differences are erased, ha!, in America) wearisome, and the many French misspellings prevented me from ever getting fully immersed in the story.

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