Ellan Read

sometimes witty book reviews

Oscar and Lucinda

I once saw a house which has a room specifically built to look like the glass church that Lucinda manufactured and Oscar built. I figured any book that inspired someone to dedicate a whole room of their house to it was worth reading. Also, Cate Blanchett plays Lucinda in the 1997 film adaptation.

Set in the late nineteenth century, Oscar is Englishman who travels to Australia after much trouble with religion, gambling and university. Lucinda is a country Australia, Billingen girl who inherits a fortune and buys a glassworks. They meet on a steamship to Sydney.

To whet your appetite: the glass church floats, people are murdered, Lucinda and Oscar play (many,many hands of) cards, there’s a trip to the Outback, some more scandal and a lot of London toff slang.

Peter Carey, the creator and tormentor, somehow manipulates his protagonists’ lives in such a way that the ordinary becomes extraordinary. He also makes it  impossible to describe any sort of plot without ruining one of the many thrilling twists and turns.

I often threw the book down in consternation, only to snatch it back up again. Oscar and Lucinda (1988) is Australian literature at it’s most palatable; positively delicious.

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This entry was posted on April 17, 2015 by in Fiction and tagged , , , , , .

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