Oscar and Lucinda

( 8 )

Overview

The Booker Prize-winning novel--now a major motion picture from Fox Searchlight  Pictures.

This sweeping, irrepressibly inventive novel, is a romance, but a romance of the sort that could only take place in  nineteenth-century Australia. For only on that sprawling continent--a haven for misfits of both the animal and human kingdoms--could a nervous Anglican minister who gambles on the instructions of the Divine become allied with a teenaged heiress who buys a...

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Oscar and Lucinda

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Overview

The Booker Prize-winning novel--now a major motion picture from Fox Searchlight  Pictures.

This sweeping, irrepressibly inventive novel, is a romance, but a romance of the sort that could only take place in  nineteenth-century Australia. For only on that sprawling continent--a haven for misfits of both the animal and human kingdoms--could a nervous Anglican minister who gambles on the instructions of the Divine become allied with a teenaged heiress who buys a glassworks to help liberate her sex. And only the prodigious imagination of Peter Carey could implicate Oscar and Lucinda in a narrative of love and commerce, religion and colonialism, that culminates in a half-mad expedition to transport a glass church across the Outback.

Winner of the 1988 Booker Prize

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679777502
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/28/1997
  • Series: Vintage International Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 433
  • Sales rank: 353,680
  • Lexile: 1020L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Carey was born in 1943 in Bacchus Marsh, Australia, and was educated at Geelong Grammar School. He is the author of a collection of stories and five novels. He lives in New York City and teaches at New York University.

Biography

"My fictional project has always been the invention or discovery of my own country," the prizewinning Australian author Peter Carey has said. This postcolonial undertaking has sometimes led Carey to wrestle with the great works of English literature: The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith (1994) draws on Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy, while in Jack Maggs (1997), a version of Dickens's Great Expectations, is told from the perspective of the convict who returns to England from Australia.

But although Carey went to what he calls "a particularly posh" Australian boarding school, he claims he didn't discover literature until he was out of school. He studied chemistry at Monash University for just a year before leaving to work in advertising. There, surrounded by readers and would-be writers, he discovered the great literature of the 20th century, including authors like Joyce, Faulkner and Beckett. "To read Faulkner for the first time was for me like discovering another planet," Carey said in an interview with The Guardian. "The pleasure of that language, the politics of giving voice to the voiceless."

Publishers rejected Carey's first three novels, so he began writing short stories. These, he later said, "felt like the first authentic things I had done." He was still working for an advertising agency when his first collection of short stories appeared in 1973, and he kept the part-time job after moving to an "alternative community" in Queensland. His first published novel, Bliss (1981), won a prestigious Australian literary prize, the Miles Franklin Award. The book is about an advertising executive who has a near-death experience and ends up living in a rural commune.

Carey's later novels ranged farther outside the bounds of his own experience, but he continued to develop his concern with Australian identity. 1988's Oscar and Lucinda, which tells the story of a colonial Australian heiress and her ill-fated love for an English clergyman, won the Booker Prize and helped establish Carey as one of the literary heavyweights of his generation. He won another Booker Prize for True History of the Kelly Gang (2000), the story of a notorious 19th-century outlaw whose legacy still shapes Australia's consciousness.

Though Carey now lives and teaches in New York City, his home country and its past still possess his imagination. ''History,'' he writes, ''is like a bloodstain that keeps on showing on the wall no matter how many new owners take possession, no matter how many times we paint over it.''

Good To Know

Peter Carey and J. M. Coetzee are the only two-time Booker Prize winners to date.

Carey caused a stir in the British press when he declined an invitation to meet Queen Elizabeth II. The royal invitation is extended to all winners of the Commonwealth Writers Prize, which Carey received in 1998 for Jack Maggs. He did meet the Queen after he won the award a second time, for True History of the Kelly Gang in 2001.

Fans of Carey's work know that in 1997, Oscar and Lucinda was made into a critically acclaimed movie starring Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett. But they may not know that Carey wrote the screenplay for the critically panned Wim Wenders film Until the End of the World (1991) as well as the screenplay adaptation of his own novel, Bliss (1991).

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    1. Also Known As:
      Peter Philip Carey
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 7, 1943
    2. Place of Birth:
      Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, Australia
    1. Education:
      Monash University (no degree)
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2012

    Underated and gorgeous

    An exquisite novel of beauty, delicacy, and strength. It's an underated masterpiece, wonderfully written and full of understanding of its characters and their yearnings which ring true: desires for acceptance, for understanding, for absolution, for freedom, and most of all, for real love. One of my favorite books.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2003

    Amazing

    Every once in a while you read something that you know will, however subtly, forever change your perception. For me, this was one of those books.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2002

    Quite Good

    I thought this book was well-written, rich, smart, and daring. Despite some of its more tragic parts, Carey portrays his characters and their lives honestly and elegantly. It is in some ways an epic, and yet I was completely absorbed from start to finish. It deserved the Booker.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2003

    Almost There

    Carey did a great job at the beginning of Oscar and Lucinda but I feel he may have taken a hiatus and waited to write the ending. The ending was rushed and did not serve justice to the time he spent developing the characters. The story as a whole I would give three stars-but for his prose and descriptions-I'll be generous today with four stars.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2001

    Disappointed

    After reading reviews on the Web and noting that Mr. Carey won the Brooker Award I rushed out and bought 5 books written by him. I am disappointed that his descriptive words are less than acceptable, by me, he seems to like to use 'earthy' instead of more usual common words and his plots are rather dull, in comparison to what else is out there.

    1 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

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