I enjoyed reading some sections of Oscar and Lucinda (and remember it more fondly than my reviews implies – I have forgotten about that dull bit now!) so I was looking forward to reading Parrot and Olivier in America. Unfortunately I didn’t connect with this book and failed to make it to the end.
Parrot and Olivier in America is set in the early 19th Century and follows an unlikely pair of characters: Olivier, a young French aristocrat, and Parrot, an orphaned printer’s apprentice who becomes Olivier’s servant. The pair leave France after the revolution and head for a new life in America.
It sounds like a fantastic plot and it takes places during a fascinating period of history, but unfortunately all the interesting facts were buried under a mountain of flowery prose. Everything was described in excessive detail which meant that the pace was very slow.
I admired individual paragraphs, but quickly became bored with the book. The effort required to follow the meandering plot was too great and I gave up after about 200 pages.
I was quite disappointed as I had wanted to complete the Booker long list this year, but I found it increasingly hard to concentrate on the words of this book. I kept finding my mind wandering from the page and realised there was no way I’d be able to make it through another 250 pages without any engagement in the characters or plot.
Recommended to those who don’t need a strong plot and enjoy getting lost in historical detail.
Most reviews seem vaguely positive, but I have seen a lot of comments from people unable to complete it.
…a delightful excursion into an unreal past that says a lot about our precarious present. The Mookse and the Gripes
It’s no Oscar and Lucinda, of course, but it’s still pretty good. Vulpes Libris
Did you enjoy Parrot and Olivier?
Did anything exciting happen in the second half of the book?