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Oscar and Lucinda Paperback – November 11, 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Peter Carey has garnered critical and commercial praise for his ingenuity, empathy, and poetic ear. Visit Amazon's Peter Carey Page.
More About the AuthorsDiscover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.
Top Customer Reviews
Nothing really happens in the book, but it doesn't matter; there's a beauty in the language used that is extremely rare. This book is pure characterization. Carey's characters are dense and human and live before the book begins and after it ends. It's a love story, but not a conventional one. The love between Oscar and Lucinda builds and builds with every written word, up to an ending which even the most astute and well-read reader will never expect. The ending is what makes the book. It is powerful. I haven't cried since I was a boy, but I came damn close reading the last few pages. It's really incredible stuff.
I found I was thinking about the last scene for weeks after I finished the book; I've even gone back and read sections. How often does a book do that to you? Not very often, I bet. 'Oscar and Lucinda' is a bit slow, but always interesting, surprising, and touching, like 'Bliss', but in completely different ways. The imagery is brilliant -- you will not see the scenes, you will stand there, with the characters, feeling the sun on your face, breathing the same air they breath. That's how good this is. Go and read it.
Set in England and Australia in the nineteenth century, the novel is essentially about the precariousness of existence and how people's lives are constructed by chance. Its essence is perhaps best captured in Oscar's speech to Lucinda on the ship Leviathan: "Our whole faith is a wager...We bet that there is a God. We bet our life on it...We must stake everything on the unprovable fact of His existence". And so they sit down to a game of cards.
Objectivity is perhaps an unattainable goal. When I recommend Oscar and Lucinda to my friends, they generally enjoy it. But this is not enough for me. I want them to feel it as keenly as I do - that Carey is an astonishing writer, possessed of an imagination, intelligence, wit and compassion, and the ability to imbue his writing with these qualities, unrivalled by any living author. And that Oscar and Lucinda is a strange, evocative, beautiful, tender novel which will make them laugh and make them cry and make them wish it would never end. I hope this is recommendation enough.
Somehow I am reminded of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice; the interplay between Oscar and Lucinda amongst "strict society" strikes the same chord as that struck in the love story of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, a man and a woman outside the "norm." This book is wonderful reading to get lost in.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I just didn't love it. Found it hard to get into and really didn't live up to the hype.Published 16 days ago by Books, Beach and Sun
Stiff writing style. Author seems to be trying to impress the reader with his detailed observations of human idiosynchrosies. Quirky is a word I'd use to describe the style. Read morePublished 3 months ago by ian rogers
Peter Carey is a tale-spinner of the very first order, fit to be in company with Dickens. The plot of this marvelous book is inventive and constantly surprising, making it a page... Read morePublished 4 months ago by gammyraye
I've just read that book for a second time. It is absolutely delightful.Published 4 months ago by Ivan B
When I don't finish a book I ordered (which was the case with this one), I don't remember the particulars, but, let's remember--I didn't finish it.Published 6 months ago by Margaret Fisk
Having read all of his books within the space of a week last year, the truest thing I can say now is that his writing style is addictive. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Sarah B
Although I found the two main characters fascinating, I found it irritating to read pages and pages about a myriad of minor characters who didn't have any roll whatsoever in the... Read morePublished 11 months ago by rosa
I did not like the book. had I not been reading it for a group discussion, I would not have finished it. I found the writing to be hard to follow. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Joan N.
I had far greater expectations. I was a little disappointed. Unable to feel real symapthy for Lucinda and Oscar.Published 14 months ago by Anjana Appanna