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A Long Way from Home (2018)

de Peter Carey

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3642369,432 (3.34)37
"The two-time Booker Prize-winning author now gives us a wildly exuberant, wily new novel that circumnavigates 1954 Australia, revealing as much about the country-continent as it does about three audacious individuals who take part in the infamous 10,000 mile race, the Redex Trial. Irene Bobs loves fast driving. Her husband is the best car salesman in south eastern Australia. Together they enter the Redex Trial, a brutal race around the ancient continent, over roads no car will ever quite survive. With them is their lanky fair-haired navigator, Willie Bachhuber, a quiz show champion and failed school teacher who calls the turns and creeks crossings on a map that will remove them, without warning, from the white Australia they all know so well. This is a thrilling high speed story that starts in one way, and then takes you some place else. It is often funny, more so as the world gets stranger, and always a page-turner even as you learn a history these characters never knew themselves. Set in the 1950s, this a world every American will recognize: black, white, who we are, how we got here, and what we did to each other along the way. A Long Way from Home is Peter Carey's late style masterpiece"--… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 23 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
In A Long Way From Home Peter Carey returns to his hometown of Bacchus Marsh during his childhood in the 1950s. Irene and Titch Bobs decide to enter the Redex Round Australia Reliability Trial to promote their nascent Holden dealership. Titch invites their next-door-neighbour Willy to come along as navigator, in deference to Willy's map-making skills. Willy, who has just lost his job as a radio quiz show contestant, agrees.

As the Bobs and Willy head north in their quest to drive around Australia they are pursued by Dangerous Dan, Titch's daredevil father, who is perennially determined to screw up anything that Titch and Irene attempt.

Carey uses the Redex trial as a vehicle (sorry) to contrast the relationship with the Australian countryside held by the indigenous Australians and the white colonialists that occupy and seek to dominate it. It's a pacy read where the narrative focus switches rapidly between Irene's and Willy's viewpoint, and the plot allows Carey to drill down into some uncomfortable truths about racial discrimination and the relationship with country. This is Carey back at the top of his game. ( )
  gjky | Apr 9, 2023 |
An amazing read but the ending was a little flat by Peter Carey standards ( )
  diveteamzissou | Dec 2, 2022 |
This is a book about a race and racism. Set in Australia in the 1950s, the plot revolves around a couple, Irene and Titch Bobs, entering the Redex Trial, a car race around the perimeter of Australia, starting and ending in Sydney. They add a navigator, Willie Bachhuber, their neighbor, teacher, and trivia quiz master. The story is told by Irene and Willie, in alternating segments.

The first half of the book focuses on the setup for entering the race and the first part of the race itself. It then takes a significant detour to recount issues related to family secrets. As the drivers enter the backcountry, the race recedes in importance and Australia’s brutal treatment of the Aboriginal people takes center stage.

I can see what the author was trying to do, and I can say I liked it; however, I think the narrative loses steam when the plot shifts so dramatically. I suggest reading it as representative of Australia’s colonial past, but I am not sure this is going to work well for readers interested in the Redex. I listened to the audio book, capably read by Colin McPhillamy, Craig Baldwin, and Saskia Maarleveld.
( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
This book comes from a land where the (then) Minister Of Tourism on being asked about Aboriginal sacred sites replied "An Abo just has to piss in a hole in the ground for it to become a sacred site".

If people say that White America still has to come to terms with its history of slavery, then someone needs to tell the Aussies that they were not there first and in spite of their fences they still do not own that land.

This is the country where you could shoot (read murder) Aborigines with impunity up to 1926. Honestly, read about the plight of the Aborigines in Australia and you would just weep and weep.

The really weird thing though is that when you go to Oz you see Aboriginal art featured in post offices, banks, malls, everywhere, but you wont see any Abos themselves, at least not in any city centres that I have visited. I was once fishing on a jetty in the wop-wops with two white guys who were friendly and chatty. I mentioned Abos and one said, "mate, an Abo just has to hold his bloody hand out and the government gives them money, those buggers get millions." And so on....

Anyway, if you have spent any time in Oz you know that racism or failed genocide is alive and well over there and that is one very real context for this book.

The other is Oz itself, a (white) country that appeared from nowhere to be a vibrant, go ahead place that produces fearless people who will have a go at anything. These are the people that built this place by hand. As Bill Bryson says, in a country "where everything wants to kill you". These are the characters in this book. Pioneering, flawed and not backward looking.

So the story is read by first person accounts, alternating between the various characters. I liked both Mrs Bobbs and Willie Bachhuber, the main ones really. I liked their respective energies. Mrs Bobbs for her outgoing get up and go and Willie for his reclusive demeanour which hides a healthy appetite for women, just not always the right ones.

No spoilers in my reviews but if you read the blurb it says that they embark on the Redex trial which is what you'd call a cross country rally, but back in the 50s. It is on this rally that everything unfolds in completely unexpected ways.

I loved reading this book, I liked the 50s atmosphere he created and inhabited. I heard that this was released into the US and I wondered if they had "translated" it as they do with so many other good books? To me, this book is quintessentially Australian and firmly rooted in Oz culture and history and I wonder how it would travel?

A look through other eyes indeed.

( )
  Ken-Me-Old-Mate | Sep 24, 2020 |
There are at least 2 books nestled here, perhaps even 3. In the first book, Irene Bobs meets her husband Titch, they attempt to set up a Ford and then a Holden dealership in the rural Victorian town of Bacchus Marsh and to escape the baleful influence of Titch's father "Dangerous Dan" Bobs, a character based at least partially on Carey's own aviator grandfather and partially on "Gelignite" Jack Murray.

In the second, they partner with their neighbour Willem Bachuber, the schoolteacher son of a Lutheran pastor, running away from his own past, and compete in the 1954 Redex Trial, a real "reliability test" putting automobiles through their paces on a 10,000 km round Australia rally, through dangerous and primitive road conditions, mainly in the outback of Northern Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia

In the third, Bachuber finds himself on a pastoral station in the north of Western Australia, trying to absorb a completely different concept of place and country as understood by the local Aboriginal population.

The story is primarily told in the strong and unique voices of Irene Bobs and Willem Bachuber; and as the story progresses Bobs' voice fades and Bachuber's becomes more dominant. So what is this all about? Don't believe the blurb about this being a rollicking story of a car race. It is... but its so much more than that. In many ways you could argue that the Redex trial is just a narrative device, albeit an entertaining one, to get Bachuber from Bacchus Marsh to the Kimberley.

Readers who have been slightly underwhelmed by some of Carey's recent work - such as His Illegal Self, Amnesia or The Chemistry of Tears (which I know I've read but can't remember a thing about) - will immediately feel he's back on familiar ground; he recreates the voices and mores of 1950s Australia perfectly. But yet its how he brings 1950s Aboriginal Australia to life that feels deft and sure.

Carey has mentioned that he needed to find a way to talk about Aboriginal experience in Australia, and that the Redex trials of the 1950s gave him that entry point. You can see why; the basic premise of the Redex, that outback Australia needs to be mapped, tamed and conquered, is in complete contrast to how the Aboriginal population perceive and experience country. Ultimately its these contrasts that Carey wants to bring to life; and alongside it, the sheer invisibility, to southern Australians, of Aboriginals and the casual racism that leads to their destruction of their systems, values and ways of life, not least the horrors of kids being removed from their parents, leading to what is known in Australia as "The Stolen Generation".

So this both an entertaining and a powerful book. Minus half a star because I am not sure about the resolution, but still very highly recommended ( )
  Opinionated | Dec 27, 2019 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 23 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
In reconstructing the race politics on which this nation is founded, Carey has created an important novel and a compelling read. The question that remains unanswered, however, is: is this his story to tell?
 

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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Carey, PeterAutorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Baldwin, CraigNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Maarleveld, SaskiaNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
McPhillamy, ColinNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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"The two-time Booker Prize-winning author now gives us a wildly exuberant, wily new novel that circumnavigates 1954 Australia, revealing as much about the country-continent as it does about three audacious individuals who take part in the infamous 10,000 mile race, the Redex Trial. Irene Bobs loves fast driving. Her husband is the best car salesman in south eastern Australia. Together they enter the Redex Trial, a brutal race around the ancient continent, over roads no car will ever quite survive. With them is their lanky fair-haired navigator, Willie Bachhuber, a quiz show champion and failed school teacher who calls the turns and creeks crossings on a map that will remove them, without warning, from the white Australia they all know so well. This is a thrilling high speed story that starts in one way, and then takes you some place else. It is often funny, more so as the world gets stranger, and always a page-turner even as you learn a history these characters never knew themselves. Set in the 1950s, this a world every American will recognize: black, white, who we are, how we got here, and what we did to each other along the way. A Long Way from Home is Peter Carey's late style masterpiece"--

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