Peter Carey’s A Long Way From Home
I enjoyed reading Peter Carey’s A Long Way From Home, though I must say from the beginning, when it gets to the fork in the road, I was a little split.
The story was, too.
Carey’s writing is superb and this is one of those award winning books. It is very much worth the read and enjoyable. There is something smooth about how Carey writes, though I will also admit, I had to jump start my reading of this book three times to get fully into it. That means I picked it up three separate times and tried to get going with it, set it down cos I just could not get into it. But the third time, my ignition started, and we were off to the races, literally.
The story is about a husband and wife in rural Australia in the 1950s who embark on a journey around the continent in their Ford with 200 or so others. To navigate, they take with them their next door neighbor, who has recently been let go for hanging a bratty school kid out the second floor window for being a smart ass. (And I thought I had it bad when I was at Dallas Schools and had to explain away things when a teacher taped a kid to his desk one late May.)
So off they pop and go on the trip and the Bobbseys, the married couple have their differences, but for a glimpse, it looks as though the navigator/school teacher and the missus might have a go at it, but then they don’t. Nonetheless, the hubs gets his head filled with a notion that something happened, and the navigator is sacked. He then winds up in a camp of sorts, teaching Aborigines, which, come to find out, are truly his blood relatives. That he’d been born there, sent away, adopted by a German couple, and this is post WWII and that’s what the smart ass kid had been bugging the teacher about–being a kraut, when he was really not.
To me, that’s where the story went sideways. It was a little too convenient. Too contrived. But it helped bring the story full round and helped the character see a new side of himself, helped him rid himself of demons that had been bothering him all his life, and made for a nice character arc.
Again, I liked the story, but it began about a couple getting into the Redex Race, and then it was about something far different by the end. That’s my main criticism.