Book Read! Parrot and Olivier in America

Peter Carey, Parrot and Olivier in America (2010).

First sentence: “I had no doubt that something cruel and catastrophic had happened before I was even born, yet the comte and comtesse, my parents, would not tell me what it was.”

P. 99: “He was slight but as hard and stitched together as the leather casing of a ball, and though I kicked and spat and scratched at him, there was no escape from the bony shackle around my wrist.”

Last sentence: “He sighed and walked up to the house alone, poor sausage.”

I never intended to buy this book, but when I saw it in the bookstore (and after hearing and reading great things about it), I couldn’t resist the great and funny looking cover (Hey, I know, it’s not the covers that should decide wether I’ll buy a book or not, but for me it is of great importance; something like the first impression you get when you meet someone for the first time.)  And now that I read it, I don’t regret buying it.  It is a fun novel about two totally different persons, one an aristocratic, one a servant, who get stuck together on a voyage to that great and promising new land.  Olivier, the aristocratic, is sent there to investigate the penitential system, but in reality his mother wants him there to escape beheading in France.  He sets a different goal: to see how the aristocracy can fit in in a democracy.  But all turns out differently, and the two men, who couldn’t stand and understand each other in the beginning of the story, begin to like each other, each in their own peculiar way.

This was a great read I can recommend to everyone who likes  travel stories  against a historical background and involving a clash of cultures.



  1. Sounds like a good book. I wasn’t sure about it at first as the cover looks like it might be a children’s book.

    Of course you should judge by the cover! I always do!

  2. Nadine Nys

    I really think you will like this book. I allways try not to judge books by their cover, but in the end, I allways do.

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