A Long Way from Home by Peter Carey

A Long Way from Home

Peter Carey

Set in the 1950s, this is 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.

Start Reading….

Read Excerpt Now

SIGN UP

Sign me up to receive news about Peter Carey.

Place our blog button on your blog to let people know you are a member of this great program!

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 southeastern 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 schoolteacher 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 someplace 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 is 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.


Advance Galley Reviews

The history about Aboriginal culture and the treatment of Aboriginal populations in Australia are the ones I find most interesting in A Long Way from Home by Peter Carey. Unfortunately, I am not the right reader for the fictional context the book places around the history. The book begins as a mad dash adventure and veers completely into a simultaneous look at a dark history and the vibrant culture that was almost destroyed. It's all a little bit confusing and a little bit too much. Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2018/06/a-long-way-from-home.html Reviewed for the Penguin First to Read program.

This book is very different from any other book I have read. I have only read a few books set in Australia. I liked the characters and the rich history of 1950s post-World War II Australia. It was a challenging read that was very well written but with the changing points of view and perspectives. I enjoyed the cross country journey through the race. I am glad that I read this book for the exposure to another culture and some of the universal truths explored. But it was not one of my favorites.

I thought I dove into an adventure book about a competitive drive around Australia in the 1950s, and it started that way, but halfway through it did a turnabout and became something entirely different. A search for identity, a wrangling with fate, a quarrel with history. All the things I thought would happen from the setup did not at all happen. It turns out that all that time I spent trying to decide who I liked and what relationships were being built didn't really matter. I really enjoyed it, but then I'm a bit puzzled by the whole thing. The heavy heavy foreshadowing ended up being not all that helpful. I ended up just letting go of my expectations of which characters were the main characters and what the point was and just read it an enjoyed it. It's a remarkable story. It defies my efforts to analyze it. But I recommend it, not the least because it uses billabong casually in a sentence. I got a copy to review from First to Read.

I liked the idea of this story more than the execution of it. It had good bones, but the characters, over all, weren't my cup of tea. There's the sad sack of a teacher, with a secret, and a betrayal in his past that isn't quite what he thinks. There's a gambler of a husband and car dealer, forever chasing his father's approval, and near ruining his family. There's the wife, who's trying fiercely to keep everything together, and mostly failing. And then the three of them are thrown together on a long journey, a long car competition, which is a test of endurance, especially of the people competing. This had enough good moments to get a third star, but the ending was deeply unsatisfying. Some of the characters learned nothing, and there wasn't much in the way of justice. It felt like the story didn't quite bring them home.

I really struggled with this book and wanted to like it, but just couldn’t stay interested.

This book was a challenge to read but worth the trouble. The POV switches back and forth from the main character, Irene Bobs to her neighbor Willie Bachhuber each chapter, but it was off-putting with no indication at the start of the chapter. All of the prose seems to blend together into Australian slang and I had to re-read multiple pages to catch the plot. The publisher has the tagline as "a world every American will recognize" but it is firmly an Australian book. However, the 1950's post-WWII Australia that Carey paints is the novel's greatest strength. 'A Long Way from Home' dives deep into Australian history-- the Redex Trial was a real event and the Bobs' goal to put themselves on the map and bring along their map-savvy neighbor feels genuine. The description of Aboriginal life and their treatment by the government pulls few punches and is entirely based on fact. The white-washed, fenced-in Australia that we see with the Bobs is pulled further and further back as they drive into Aboriginal territory. Carey's 'A Long Way from Home' is not an easy read in both style and content. But it proves to be a worthwhile journey. I received this e-book for free from First to Read and Penguin Books in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this glimpse into the lives of the Bobs family and their neighbour, Willie Bachuber. The novel tells the story in alternating viewpoints, those of Irene Bobs and Willie, which gives the reader two chances to examine the same event. The voices of these two narrators were great. Irene is brash, kind and very accomplished as a driver in a predominantly male world. Willie is quiet, introspective with momentary bursts of anger that sometimes land him in hot water. The race allows Carey to explore the geography of Australia with care and attention and takes the reader into some fascinating territories. There are some revealing instances of racism towards the aboriginals, which shine a light on the treatment by the white man of the indigenous population of Australia. This is a book that has a lot more depth than I was expecting with a narrative that moves at a good pace, starting in a languid fashion and building momentum towards the climax. All in all, this was a great read. I received a free copy of this book from First to Read in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I found this book incredibly frustrating and confusing. There was the premise of a good story here, but the story was just so choppy and unorganized that it just gets lost. The chapters jump from one character to the next and for most of them, I had to read a few paragraphs to determine which POV it was. I which this was a more linear story about the Aborigines, but it is all over the place and thick in Australian and Aboriginal vernacular. Here's a breakdown in a few short sentences that I could make out: A husband and wife who want to open a Ford dealership, but cannot because the husbands father won't let him. The husband gets tricked into opening a Holden dealership instead and then they end up in the Redex Trial. The neighbor of the couple joins the wife as the navigator and then discovers he is Aboriginal and gets tricked into becoming a teacher. The trial ends.

Peter Carey has mined Australian history for many of his novels. The History of the Kelly Gang and Jack Maggs reflect on the 19th century colonial experience which dumped English convicts and downtrodden Irish on the other side of the world. His new novel, A Long Way from Home, takes a completely different chunk of Australian history – the dispossession of the Aborigines and refracts it through the strange lens of an auto endurance rally in the 1950s – the Redex Trial – in which ordinary production automobiles traveled around the country on back roads and sometimes no roads at all. Many entrants were forced to drop out proving that modern machinery was no match for Australia’s ancient and rugged landscape. The heroine Irene and her husband Titch enter the Redex Trial to publicize their new car dealership outside Melbourne. If they can win, they’ll really put their town on the map. (And putting yourself on the map is a big thing in Australia.) They enlist their bookish neighbor because he reads maps and will be a great navigator. For the competitors the great Australian wilderness must be conquered. A Long Way from Home is not just a slightly off-kilter buddy adventure. Here, Carey takes up a theme he’s ignored so far. Many of his books explore the impact of the colonial mentality or the tribulations of being a small country in an Anglo-American world. These all, however, focused on Europeans in Australia. In this novel, white Australians have to confront, or wilfully ignore, their own devastating impact on Aboriginal life. Until this book, Carey has avoided creating Aboriginal characters because he didn’t want, in his words, to be “a dick.” Speaking for Aborigines might have seemed presumptuous but Carey has decided that as a white Australian, he cannot avoid the responsibility of benefiting from the dispossession of the first Australians. This book brilliantly captures the uncaring attitude of most white Australians both in the 1950s and probably right now. Token cultural recognition is about all that separates the 1950s from today. For the rally drivers, Aborigines are barely visible in the landscape. Irene tries to rebury a child’s head she finds in the countryside, an action that is very culturally inappropriate. She carries the skull in a box in their car, which means disaster often seems imminent. And all this to give the skull a proper burial in Adelaide. Carey mixes the bizarre and the comical as Irene brings the child’s remains to its final resting place. Titch is so intent on winning the Redex trial, he is oblivious of Irene’s plans. Willie Bachhuber – the map-reading neighbour – has a very different experience. He discovers that although he’s passed for white as the adopted son of Lutheran missionaries, he is, in fact, part-Aboriginal. As the car trial winds down, he finds himself working as a teacher with surviving Aborigines on a remote ranch. Thrust into this world, Bachhuber can barely relate to the Aborigines despite his vast knowledge of the history of dispossession and deep understanding of Aboriginal culture. Only at the most abstract level, does Bacchuber feel his aboriginal identity. Most of the time he is trying to plot his escape back to civilization. And none of that summary does justice to the characters. These are all rich characters with whom we sympathize even as we are watching how they misunderstand the continent and the Aborigines. Carey manages to create individual characters in bright primary colors whose lives also symbolize the dilemma of Aboriginal dispossession. Carey refuses to moralize about the insouciance of his white characters. In fact, we are drawn deeply into their concerns as they struggle to make their way in the world. Carey’s new novel is aggressively Australian but because it’s set in the recent past, the narrators speak as if everyone knows extinct consumer brands like Sparkling Rheingold and Ampol, as well as the era’s pop culture obsessions like radio quiz shows. For most American readers, the context will suggest that Holden is Australian for Chevrolet but it will probably help to keep Google handy to follow some of the more arcane geography like the Inland Sea and colloquialisms like “what does he do for a crust?” or “bang the dunny door.” Even many Australians today would have trouble remembering the fictional Aboriginal policeman Napoleon Bonaparte or the once-famous Australian cyclist, Hubert Opperman. Beyond these details, A Long Way from Home is Australian in another, much more significant way: It encapsulates the enormous indifference of white Australians to what their ancestors wrought on Aboriginal Australia. That indifference probably make the current vogue for “reconciliation” a really impossible dream. It’s a great read about a fundamental issue in Australian history and identity.

I really struggled to read this book. Every once in a while there was some tidbit that piqued my interest and kept me from giving up on it, but I wasn't crazy about the writing style, pace or tone of the book. I was also sometimes flummoxed by Australian expressions. I'd round 2.5 rating stars up to 3. I think the author had good intentions but perhaps he is not the right person to tackle the history of the cruel and racist treatment of the Aborigines in Australia. By combining that history with that of a road race it diminished the impact of an important story about which I know very little. The blurb makes it sound like the book is centered around a road race, but the race in 1953 doesn't even begin until the second half of the book. The beginning of the book is an introduction to three quirky characters. Irene and Titch Bobs are struggling to open a car dealership in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria. Their neighbor is Willie Bachhuber, a 26 year old high school teacher and celebrity quiz show contestant who loses both jobs. The story is told in alternating chapters by Irene and Willie and it often took me a while to figure out which one was talking. The three of them decide to enter the Redex Trial, an 18 day road race. "Two hundred lunatics circumnavigating the continent of Australia, more than ten thousand miles over outback roads so rough they might crack your chassis clean in half." Interspersed with details of the Redex, which is a pretty boring race, we get random information about the lives of Willie and the Bobs (or, as Willie sometimes calls them, the Bobbseys), Willie's nazi brother, quiz shows, and the history of Australia. The most interesting part of the book to me is the last part which is devoted to the period after Willie leaves the race. He reluctantly gets another teaching position educating the children of Aborigines workers. "They paid me twenty pounds a week to erase the past, to modernise the blacks, to make them as white as possible in the hope that they would grow up as stockboys and house lubras and punks wallahs." It turns out that Willie is the one getting the education. The dialect used occasionally in this part of the book was too much work for me to follow. "They been fight whitefellah. They been have a spear and whitefellah been have a rifle. If whitefellah been come up got no bit of a gun, couldn't roundem up, killing all the people. They never been give him fair go." This was my first time reading this author and I was hoping to like the book more than I did. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

This quirky road trip tells the story in alternating perspectives of Willy and Irene -- neighbors in the rough and tumble Australian budding society who become close and then get into a publicity stunt road endurance road trip around Australia's perimeter due to Irene's husband's dream of a car dealership to compete with his celebrity father's. Their awkward, chaste romance is endearing, as are the continual revelations about Willy's and Australia's buried past with regard to race and Irene stumbles her way to affecting some attempts are redemption for future generations, while Willy learns and records more than he can handle about Aboriginal oppression when he gets separate from his crew in the North and people notice things he didn't know about himself.

A Long Way From Home is a long and bumpy ride courtesy of the Redex Race in Australia all the while exploring the tensions of Australia's racial tension between the white people and the aborigines. We get a taste of the traumatic history surrounding the Aboriginal people when Mrs. Bob's happens upon a mass gravesite and finds a child's skull, and when William Bauchuber is abducted happenstance-ly while navigating for Mr. and Mrs. Bobs while running the Redex Race. He is deposited on a ranch that needs a school teacher and interestingly finds out about his own life to boot. The book is filled with broadly unique, quirky characters that sometimes while reading the book I wanted more about one or more of the characters for more pages in the chapter, instead of jumping around chapter to chapter trying to figure out within the first few sentences who the story for that chapter is about, which is like trying to spin your tires out of the mud. I would've loved a little more from Mrs. Bob's history before Mr. Bob's comes into the picture. Mrs. Bobs is a strong, spirited woman who wished she was my next door neighbor. The adventures we could have would be always fun. I truly enjoyed the story and it's humorist take on road races. I learned a lot about Australia's countryside and cities I had never heard of until this book. This story by Peter Carey which he has written like a love story to his country was lyrically told until the last few chapters where the story seemed to stall like a car when the radiator overheats and then sputters dead in the desert. I give this book 3.5 instead of 4 only because I took a half point off for the ending. I appreciate having the chance to read this before it was published. I know I will be reading more from Mr. Carey. Thanks Penguin Books and First to Read for the opportunity to read, A Long Way From Home.

Thank you First to Read for ARC of Peter Carey’s “A Long Way From Home “. It was a beautifully written novel with BIG themes and complicated characters. I was unfamiliar with Austraila’s History of racism which certainly matches the United States. The beginning of the book hints at a different emphasis but once the car race is on., there is no doubt where it is headed. The author can certainly turn a phrase. He leads you to the truth but let’s the reader deal with it without any extraneous verbiage. I appreciated that I wasn’ t always thinking , “I’ve read this before.” ...

Two worlds collide in this meandering 1954 tale when the Bobs move to Bacchus Marsh (where Carey grew up), near Melbourne, next door to 26-year-old Willie Bachhuber, a man who—in addition to being on suspension from his teaching job for dangling a racist student out the window by his heels—has gained notoriety for his winning performance on a radio quiz show. People think Willie must be rich because of the prize checks he receives, but the show is rigged and Willie won't make anything until it gains sponsors. The show is recorded at a different time each week so Willie can avoid the authorities who are after him for abandoning his wife and infant son without paying child support. Titch Bobs, the best car salesman in the region, and his wife Irene are a diminutive couple, their size important only in that it affords them the same advantage it does for jockeys. They are light, so when they are manipulated into entering the Redex Reliability Trial, a grueling 18-day, 10,000 mile promotional rally that circumnavigates Australia, they can take Willie—who is a whiz with maps—along as a navigator without compromising their fuel efficiency. The Redex isn't a race: it's an endurance test with complicated rules. Arriving at checkpoints early incurs penalties as harsh as showing up late, and large parts of the route are through hazardous, barely charted territory. Although the narrative alternates between Irene Bobs and fair-haired Willie Bachhuber, this is really Willie's story. Raised by a Lutheran pastor, he is nostalgic but ambivalent about his German heritage. However, as the Redex takes the trio into the Kimberley, a region with a strong Aboriginal presence, Willie makes a life-altering discovery about who he really is and where he comes from. The story transitions from the harrowing account of a "race," where a wrong move can be fatal, to a story about race, about the self-dubbed "blackfellahs" who are Australia's analogs to the Native Americans in the US. Laws have been created that expressly prohibit Aboriginals from participating in many facets of Australian life. They aren't put on reservations, but they might as well have been, as their movements and actions were restricted and many have been cut off from ancestral lands. Willie finds himself enmeshed in their culture, trying to wend his way through a variety of pidgen Englishes and unfamiliar traditions that are part of their everyday lives. He discovers that maps, one of his true loves, are anathema to the Aboriginal people, a creation of "whitefellahs." It takes quite a while to get to the meat of the action. The first part of the book focuses on the Bobs' efforts to set up a car dealership and to get out from under the oppressive weight of Titch's father, a pompous ne'er-do-well blowhard who seems to be actively out to sabotage his son's career and life. Willie, in the meantime, navigates the hazardous course of romance, only to discover that doesn't run true. The tone shifts to a more adventurous note once the Redex gets under way. Irene is a hugely talented driver, but her size and gender render her nearly invisible to the thousands of fans following daily reports of their progress. Although it is her skill that will be responsible should the Bobs prevail in the Trial, she knows she'll get none of the credit, not even from her husband, who risked everything to enter. She finds herself drifting closer to Willie, causing marital friction which explodes when a family tragedy occurs in the middle of the Trial. Sadly, Carey, too, essentially abandons Irene's story when the focus of the book turns to Willie's discovery. This blow-up throws everyone off course, none so much as Willie, who finds himself in unfamiliar territory, among unfamiliar people who know far more about his history and past than he does. Carey doesn't shy away from exposing the reprehensible underbelly of Australia's past, and Willie finds himself caught between two worlds, to neither of which he fully belongs.

A Long Way From Home, by Peter Carey is about to be published in the US and for that I say, “Hurray, Yay, It’s about time”. Do not be afraid to read this book because it is written by an Australian author and uses Australian idioms and discloses some ugly Australian history*. It is a GOOD book and worth the time to understand all of that. Narrated in turn by Irene Bobs and Willie Buchhuber, it describes the preparation for, the running of, the results of, and the aftermath of the Tedex, a grueling 9700 mile automobile endurance test. Why do the Bobs participate? Because… Irene’s husband Titch wants to make a name for himself so that he can become a successful dealer of GM Holden, Australia’s very own General Motors Car. Titch engages Irene to help drive and Willie to navigate. In this back and forth narration, we learn that Irene loves her husband, that she has two children, that she is an excellent driver. Willie, her neighbor, is a teacher, has left his ‘wife’ to rear their black son alone, and is an excellent navigator. According to some reviewers, this book is a satire. In me, it elicited feelings of both humor and sadness. There are some funny as well as sad things that happen to the participants. Personalities and relationships seem to change. Upsetting when it happens to someone you have begun to know and love. I did not want this book to end. Pun intended, it was quite a ride. *Let me be clear, that I do not mean to denigrate Australia for its mistreatment of the Aborigine; the US has some VERY ugly history regarding the mistreatment of blacks, as we ALL know.

Carey gives us a taste of post-War Australia with a set of eccentric characters like the Bobs who are obsessed (or at least Titch is) with getting the local Ford dealership. Eventually, they join on with a glorious local tradition- the Redex, a race navigating around all of Australia even aboriginal areas. The prose is quite rich and the characters he develops here are far from one dimensional. There is so much depth to them even from the first page. The depth, however, doesn't always carry the story through the muddy flats or the bone-dry expanses.

Irene Bobs is married to Titch, one of the best car salesmen in southern Australia. Together with their neighbor Willie Bachhuber as their navigator, they set out to compete in the 1954 Redex, a 10,000 mile race around Australia. Titch is attempting to open a car dealership and a victory would cement his reputation. Irene is the supportive wife who has given her inheritance to make her husband a success. Willie is a failed teacher and game show contestant who has a warrant out in his name for outstanding child support. As they travel the rough terrain that takes a toll on the cars and drivers they not only learn more about each other, but they also experience the social divisions within the country and learn more about the treatment of the aborigines. From the big cities to the small towns and settlements and finally to the cattle stations, Peter Carey has written a story that kept me totally absorbed. It is told in chapters that alternate between Irene’s story and Willie’s discovery of his family history and who he really is. It is filled with humor, but there are also scenes that are truly heartbreaking. This is the first story I have read by Carey. I look forward to reading more of his work and would not hesitate to recommend this book.

This is an unusual novel but it is enjoyable, informative and packs an emotional punch. The book mainly revolves around a road trip around Australia and, in keeping with the subject matter, it careers along entertainingly. As the characters discover more about themselves and their country, which is evocatively described, the race fades into relative insignificance. The associated change of pace is essential to the novel but sections did seem to drag slightly in comparison to the rip-roaring first sections. It's well worth a read. Thought-provoking as well as entertaining.

This is a tale of some very quirky characters. It’s not really a book about the Redex Tral though that’s certainly a part of the story. Since I’m not from Australia I found myself googling places and expressions often but it didn’t distract too much from the story. I wasn’t fond of the writing style of Peter Carey. Often times the characters, especially Willie talked about his life in a way that I wasn’t privy to until things became clear towards the end of the book. I felt the middle of the book dragged and at times I felt the book would have made a better story without getting bogged down in Willie’s drama. But, all and all a fun read

This was my first novel by Peter Carey, an author with a deeply devoted fan base. The story revolves around very quirky characters and explores the collision of white and indigenous Australia in the 1950s against a unique backdrop. The story started a little slow for me, but it grew into a book like nothing I've read before.

While Peter Carey’s title “A Long Way From Home” is appropriate given the storylines of the book, the book itself reads as a meandering discourse on various events. When given the book summary as a preview I thought this book would be about the Redex race, but instead that’s only a portion of a book that switches back and forth between two of the main characters. There isn’t consistency between the transitions, but they occur often enough that you constantly feel like you are switching back and forth between two stories without gaining a foothold on either. While I’m pretty sure I understood the overarching message to the book, this was very difficult to read and never felt like it had a storyline that pulled you in and left you wanting to know or care what happened to the primary characters.

Peter Carey has again created marvelous, complex characters who struggle with their own identities and with each others against the backdrop of 1950s Australia. The RedeX trials are exciting, but more so are the characters themselves. The chapters alternate between being narrated by Irene Bobs, a woman who has tried to establish herself in her own right while also being a supportive wife to her husband, and Willie Bachhuber, their neighbor and then their navigator in the competition, who has his own secrets to hide. Each narration is well written and expressive of the different characters, and the book presents a beautiful exploration of personal relationships across a wide spectrum of situations. I would, without hesitation, recommend this book to anyone who wishes to read great character portrayals.

I struggled my way through this book, but can't say I would recommend it. The characters were all over the place and it was so hard to read I had to look up the meanings of some words and phrases. The end came with no resolutions or clarity.

Peter Carey’s A Long Way Home falls flat. Set in 1950’s Australia, it is the story of a husband and wife who want to buy a Ford dealership, but are unable to for various reasons. One being the intervention of the husband’s father. The time spent on this father son relationship never bore fruit for me. I didn’t really care. Their neighbor was a teacher hiding from the police after hanging a student out of a window and failing to pay child support. The three embark upon the 18 day Redex race across Australia. It takes about 130-150 pages for us to get to this point in the story, but I felt no real connection to any of the characters. The race portion felt mundane. I wasn’t vested in the characters, so i was not vested in the race. Then the book takes a detour into what very well should have been another book altogether. The teacher, who is half aboriginal, is kidnapped to his home lands from which he was taken as a baby. I found this portion of the book difficult to follow. Partly because of the way the native people spoke , partly because of the Australian terms that I kept having to look up and partly because of the aboriginal history with which I was not too familiar. Instead of telling the reader what happened during these atrocities, it felt like the author was writing in code, so I spent a good bit a time looking up other resources to fill in the blanks. This is too much to ask of a reader. This is a novel, not a research paper. The story comes to a sudden end nothing is truly addressed. No resolutions or lessons are shared. The characters are never really developed into real people. It all just kind of stops with a “huh.” But at least it stops.

A Long Way Home, by Peter Carey was an enjoyable, quick read for me. It was kind of a road trip novel and kind of a race relations novel. I am not familiar with the culture, 1950's rural Australia, and found much of it fascinating, especially the part about aboriginal culture and history. That being said, that aspect also confused me somewhat, and it sometimes felt a little over the top and cartoonish, but I don't have the back ground knowledge to know how seriously it was addressing these matters. The depictions of the race around Australia were fun and the characters, if not always likable, were entertaining. I did enjoy the read, but not really sure if I know who I would recommend it to.

Road trip! around the perimeter of Australia. It's 1954 and the Redux Road Trial is about to begin. It is quintessential Australian fille with vivid characters, wildlife, and a landscape that comes to life. It's a journey of discovery: of the hardships of the outback and of Australia's history of racial suppression. It's also a journey of self-discovery. This road trip will test relationships and create new ones never imagined before setting out in the specially outfitted GM Holden automobile. This was my first novel by Peter Carey who, if I can judge his other books by this one, clearly deserves the many awards he has received thus far, including the prestigious Man Booker Prize. While the pigeon English of the Aboriginals was sometimes hard to follow, and sentences and paragraphs sometimes seemed disconnected, it all contributed to the atmosphere of a rugged country still trying to come to terms with its past and future.

Peter Carey is a writer who's given me great pleasure: Jack Maggs, The True History of the Kelly Gang, The Chemistry of Tears, all are personal favorites. So it is with regret that I must report Far From Home was not for me. I could not sympathize with the main characters, who seemed unlikable and unrealistic to me. The situations and personalities at the beginning seem not only removed from my own experience, but removed from reality. Perhaps most importantly, the humor failed for me; I didn't crack a smile once. Perhaps the book is "too Australian" somehow? By the time the auto race arrived (one third of the way through the novel), I wasn't interested enough in the book to be interested in the race. The larger points about Australian history, and the shameful episodes in the nation's and the characters' pasts, are there, and I sympathize with them, but I couldn't enjoy the story.

I really enjoyed this book and I'm glad I got the chance to read an early copy. Thanks First to Read books. What an interesting and complex cast of characters! Willie, the next door neighbor hiding from police after hanging one of his students out the window, son of a German minister. He becomes navigator for the Bobs in the Redex race and in the end discovers where he really comes from. I started out liking Titch Bobs, a man that will do anything for his family, giving up on his dream of a Ford dealership and driving around the continent to try and win a name for himself. By the end of the book I couldn't stand him, gambling his wife's money, taking credit for winning the race, flirting with other women. Irene was such a strong character. She deserves the credit for winning the race and coming up with the money to buy their dealership, among other things. And in the background of the story, there's always the divide between the aboriginals and the whites.

The Text for this book was too small for me to read and enjoy. It was a struggle so much so that I stopped reading ".A Long Way From Home"

 


More to Explore

  • True History of the Kelly Gang
  • Oscar and Lucinda
  • Jack Maggs
  • Parrot and Olivier in America

Copy the following link