Thursday, September 17, 2009

Oscar and Lucinda

by Peter Carey
Peter Carey has this way of taking not-totally-sympathetic characters and making you want to know what happens to them anyway. Although I found the first bit of Oscar and Lucinda confusing, once I figured out the structure of the story (it's told by a great-grandson we never get to know) it was interesting.
Carey takes us once again to the earlyish days of life in post-English invasion Australia, when Sydney was advanced enough to envy London, but not advanced enough to emulate it.
The plotting is spasmodic; it takes chapters to even meet Oscar and Lucinda, most of the book for them to meet, a brief and truly odd courtship for them to fall in love, and all lose ends are cauterised in the final chapter. Carey has provided a literary equivalent to "and then the boy woke up."
Don't get me wrong -- I enjoyed reading this book. Parts of it were fascinating, rich and left me burning to know more. But it is definitely not to everyone's taste.

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