Tuesday 1 August 2017

Book Review: Oscar & Lucinda by Peter Carey

Title: Oscar & Lucinda
Author: Peter Carey
Publisher: University of Queensland Press
Publication Date: 1988
Pages: 511
Format: Paperback
Genre: Literary Fiction/Historical
Source: Bought Copy (Second Hand)

Peter Carey's Booker Prize winning novel imagines Australia's youth, before its dynamic passions became dangerous habits. It is also a startling and unusual love story. Oscar is a young English clergyman who has broken with his past and developed a disturbing talent for gambling. A country girl of singular ambition, Lucinda moves to Sydney, driven by dreams of self-reliance and the building of an industrial Utopia. Together this unlikely pair create and are created by the spectacle of mid-nineteenth century Australia. Peter Carey's visionary brilliance, and his capacity to delight and surprise, propel this story to its stunning conclusion. (Goodreads Synopsis)

Oscar and Lucinda is a story that crept up on me. Initially as I read I had no strong feelings about it, but then suddenly I realised I was completely invested, particularly with Oscar. Carey's character studies of his two main protagonists are sublime. They seem so real and so human. Both are deeply flawed and yet captivating. When the ending came it took me by surprise. It wasn't at all as I'd expected and at first that jarred. However, the more I contemplated it, the more I realised it couldn't have ended any other way. This is perhaps not a book I'd come back to again and again, but it's certainly one I'm glad I read and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a focus on character in their fictional reads.

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