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A Long Way from Home
Cover of A Long Way from Home
A Long Way from Home
A Novel
Over the course of his stellar writing life, Peter Carey has explored his homeland of Australia in such highly acclaimed novels as Oscar and Lucinda, True History of the Kelly Gang and Amnesia. Writing at the peak of his powers, Carey takes us on an unforgettable journey that maps his homeland's secrets in this extraordinary new novel.
Wildly inventive, funny and profoundly moving, A Long Way from Home opens in 1953 with the arrival of the tiny, handsome Titch Bobs, his beautiful doll of a wife, Irene, and their two children in the small town of Bacchus Marsh. Titch is the best car salesman in southeastern Australia. Irene loves her husband, and loves to drive fast. Together they enter the Redex Trial, a brutal endurance race around the ancient continent, over roads no car is designed to survive. With them is their neighbour and navigator, Willie Bachhuber, a quiz show champion and failed school teacher who calls the turns and creek crossings on a map that will lead them, without warning, away from the white Australia they all know so well. Just like the novel, Peter Carey's new masterpiece, begins in one way and takes you somewhere you never thought you'd be. Often funny, the book is also and always a page-turner, surprising you with history these characters never even knew themselves. Its profound reckoning with Australia's brutal treatment of the continent's aboriginal people will also resonate strongly with Canadian readers.
Over the course of his stellar writing life, Peter Carey has explored his homeland of Australia in such highly acclaimed novels as Oscar and Lucinda, True History of the Kelly Gang and Amnesia. Writing at the peak of his powers, Carey takes us on an unforgettable journey that maps his homeland's secrets in this extraordinary new novel.
Wildly inventive, funny and profoundly moving, A Long Way from Home opens in 1953 with the arrival of the tiny, handsome Titch Bobs, his beautiful doll of a wife, Irene, and their two children in the small town of Bacchus Marsh. Titch is the best car salesman in southeastern Australia. Irene loves her husband, and loves to drive fast. Together they enter the Redex Trial, a brutal endurance race around the ancient continent, over roads no car is designed to survive. With them is their neighbour and navigator, Willie Bachhuber, a quiz show champion and failed school teacher who calls the turns and creek crossings on a map that will lead them, without warning, away from the white Australia they all know so well. Just like the novel, Peter Carey's new masterpiece, begins in one way and takes you somewhere you never thought you'd be. Often funny, the book is also and always a page-turner, surprising you with history these characters never even knew themselves. Its profound reckoning with Australia's brutal treatment of the continent's aboriginal people will also resonate strongly with Canadian readers.
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About the Author-
  • PETER CAREY is the author of thirteen previous novels. In addition to the Booker Prize, his honors include the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Born in Australia, he has lived in New York City for more than twenty-five years.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 4, 2017
    Carey’s unfortunate latest (after Amnesia) starts out being about a race and ends up being about race, but it’s marred by so many “what’s going on here?” moments and convenient plot-changing contrivances that readers will wonder what story Carey’s trying to tell, and how. In postwar Australia, car salesman Titch Bobs decides to enter the Redex Trial, a grueling endurance car race around Australia, with the goal of winning and using the ensuing celebrity to open his own dealership. His crew: his wife (and driver) Irene, and his neighbor (and navigator), quiz show champion Willie Bachhuber. Carey takes a lot of time setting up his narrative chess pieces, and it’s not long after the race starts (over a third of a way into the novel) that a family tragedy breaks up Titch’s crew and eventually sends one of them on a baffling adventure that unearths a life-changing secret and lays bare the shameful history of indignities perpetrated against Aboriginal people. Carey’s prose is cutting and often quite funny (“On the far shore stood a moustached white man who should have been told, years ago, don’t wear shorts.”), but that alone doesn’t save the overly shaggy story. This won’t go down as one of Carey’s better efforts.

  • 2018 Prime Minister's Literary Awards jury citation Shortlisted for Australia's 2018 Prime Minister's Literary Awards: Fiction

    "Carey's rollicking, technicolour imagination is at full throttle in his descriptions of the Redex Trial: a bone-rattling and perilous trip around Australia that brings his three companions into contact with the vast continent in a way they have never experienced before. But the resulting journey becomes something far larger, stranger and more powerful than a car race across Australia's plains: it morphs into an interrogation of what home is, what it can mean, and how history can rarely be settled by maps or narratives found in books. A Long Way from Home shows Carey in high form, balancing the antic and the deadly serious on a knife's edge, and marks a powerful contribution to his oeuvre."
  • The Globe and Mail "Carey offers what might be his most personal work of fiction. . . . Carey has a long concern with Australian history and has never ignored its colonial legacy. What sets A Long Way from Home apart is its level of attention to aboriginal people and whether his handling of the past here represents a potential turn in his work. . . . Being a Canadian studying Australian history is like looking into a distorted mirror: despite the differences, you recognize the face. . . . In A Long Way from Home, all this stuff--all the ways the past is made personal--churns around a question appropriate to a Canadian audience as well."
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    Random House of Canada
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