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Australia’s master novelist takes us on the race of a lifetime.

Irene Bobs loves fast driving. Her husband is the best car salesman in western Victoria. Together they enter the Redex Trial, a brutal race around the ancient continent over roads no car will ever quite survive.

With them is their lanky fair-haired navigator, Willie Bachhuber, a quiz show champion and failed schoolteacher whose job it is to call out the turns, the grids, the creek crossings on a map that will finally remove them, without warning, from the lily-white Australia they know so well.

This thrilling, high-speed story starts in one way and then takes you someplace else. It is often funny, the more so as the world gets stranger, and always a page-turner, even as you learn a history these characters never knew themselves. Set in the 1950s amid the consequences of the age of empires, this brilliantly vivid and lively novel reminds us how Europeans took possession of a timeless culture – the high purpose they invented and the crimes they committed along the way.

Peter Carey has twice won the Booker Prize for his explorations of Australian history. A Long Way from Home is his late-style masterpiece.

Reviews

An astonishing piece of work: so Peter Carey, and yet completely on its own . . . The places the book goes – well, it’s just wonderful; it feels necessary.

Elizabeth Strout, The Guardian (Australia)

One of his best in recent years . . . a love letter to an Australia that no longer exists.

Stephen Romei, The Australian

A major work of fiction by the writer who will probably be regarded, in a hundred years, as the leading Australian novelist from the early part of the twenty-first century . . . Brilliantly iconoclastic . . . A highly enjoyable reading experience.

Paul Giles, Australian Book Review

A domestic drama on wheels, an inquiry into the metaphysics of race, and an antic vehicle for Carey’s inimitable and lacerating wit . . . A Long Way From Home reminds us that great novels are not ideological – neither exploitative nor excessively well-meaning – but tough-minded, complex admissions of failure, guilt and confusion.

Geordie Williamson, The Australian

A Long Way From Home finds an ingenious way to reflect upon the original sin of dispossession and its ongoing consequences . . . Carey’s enduring fascination with fakes and forgers takes on a new and potent meaning . . . Willie’s experience of deracination and the novel’s admirable undermining of its own nostalgia do not suggest any simple resolution, but they do lead to its necessary and humbling final recognition . . .

James Ley, Sydney Morning Herald

Of all the novels I’ve read by two-time Booker winner Peter Carey, this one is the best. I romped through it, trying fruitlessly to slow down my reading so that it would never end. Fast-paced, utterly engaging and full of trademark Carey eccentrics, A Long Way from Home is a comic novel which also reveals the slow dawning of Australia’s recognition of its real history . . . Hilarious . . . The narration is inspired.

Lisa Hill, ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

What a brilliant idea, to set a novel about discovering Australia and a self – and a self in relation to Australia – during the gruelling Redex trials . . . Carey is the writer to pull this off . . . [Y]ou can feel his delight in the power and vitality of Aboriginal English . . . not a word wasted, and yet as suited to the storytelling and mythic register, with the ability to range across space and time and compress epic events and tragedies into legend, as any Homeric verse . . . The book is beautiful, layered and resonant, and hard to put down . . . The stunning last sentence of Carey’s novel indicates that there’s a long way to go yet for non-Indigenous Australians in having any idea where we are, no matter what maps we try to make.

Claire Corbett, The Monthly

His best novel in years, maybe decades.

Alex Preston, The Guardian (UK)

An ebullient comic caper . . . Intensely engaging in more ways than one, [a] high-octane novel.

Peter Kemp, The Sunday Times (UK)

Not since True History of the Kelly Gang has he seemed so on-song.

Andrew Dickson, Financial Times

Superb . . . A novel of startling scope and real moral and emotional depth . . . A wild, strange, magical ride of a book. (five stars)

Daily Telegraph

Captivating . . . We barrel along anarchically, marvelling at the elegance of Carey’s plotting and the explosive joy of the storytelling . . . Carey turns the novel into a staging ground for his own merciless excavation of Australian history.

The Spectator

Peter Carey deserves the Nobel Prize in Literature for lifting the heart.

The Telegraph (UK)

He’s long been concerned with illegitimacy in the form of (white) confidence tricksters and outlaws . . . but here it’s culturally appropriated falsehoods that are called into question, and ‘horrendous’ deeds brought to light. (four stars)

Lucy Scholes, The Independent (UK)

On-the-road adventure, revisionist history and moral fable . . . a rich narrative stew.

Robert Douglas Fairhurst, The Times (UK)

Peter Carey’s new novel is a pretty remarkable beast . . . Strange, tender, always somehow comical . . . A wild, strange, magical ride of a book.

Sam Leith, The Telegraph (UK)

A moving meditation on multiple forms of paternal failure and the culture of racism that have shaped modern Australia.To give away more would risk spoiling the genuine pleasures.

Patrick Flanery, The Spectator (UK)

A novel full of riches. The road race propels the plot along, but it’s really a book about cultural identity, about family, about the ability to empathise with others. As such, it’s hugely relevant for our times.

Arminta Wallace, Irish Times

I couldn’t have imagined that a car race could be so enthralling.

The Guardian (UK)

This picaresque comedy goes thematically deeper as it heads into the Outback. The antic tone of this 14th novel by Australian-born Carey belies its serious ambition. The comic spirit slyly suggests Shakespeare, an inquiry into identity and the farcical human existence . . . Carey’s novel raises issues of culture and race that carry a thoroughly contemporary charge. (starred review)

Kirkus Reviews

One of Australia’s greatest authors . . . Carey employs both a multi-voice narrative and a continent-spanning car race to emulate the disparate voices and fits and starts that comprise Australia’s history. Highly recommended. (starred review)

Library Journal (US)

The two-time Booker winner is in effervescent form . . . Carey excels in this fizzing, darkly comic novel.

Jason Steger, The Age

Here is the rich and ebullient characterisation that Carey does so well . . . The novel is full of noise and action and extravagant emotion.

Katharine England, The Advertiser (Adelaide)

A high-rev Illywhacker on wheels, both thoughtful and fun.

Jennifer Byrne, Australian Women’s Weekly

What a delightful writer Peter Carey is, and how varied are the delights he offers. A Long Way From Home . . . displays many of the typically polychromatic Carey pleasures. There’s the picaresque plot . . . the fascination with forgery and trickery, secrets hidden and revealed . . . the wedding of a deeply comic vision to an acute sense of how all history . . . is a record of barbarism . . . Above all, though, there’s the supple and musical prose, possessed of a distinct rhythm and filled with flashes of poetic brilliance . . . It’s one of Carey’s best, and boldest, efforts yet.

Anthony Domestico, The Boston Globe

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9780143787075

    October 30, 2017

    Hamish Hamilton Australia

    RRP $37.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • EBook

    9781760143770

    October 30, 2017

    Penguin eBooks

    Online retailers

    • iBooks NZ
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ

Extract

Bacchus Marsh,
33 miles from Melbourne

1

For a girl to defeat one father is a challenge, but there were two standing between me and what I wanted, which was – not to fiddle-faddle – a lovely little fellow named Titch Bobs.

The first father was my own. When he discovered that I, his teeny Irene, his little mouse, his petite sized mademoiselle, had, all by herself, proposed matrimony to a man of five foot three, he spat his Wheaties in his plate.

Titch’s father was number two. He came out of the gate at a gallop, one hundred percent in favour. I was a beauty, a bobby-dazzler until, in the hallway by the coat stand, he gave me cause to slap his face.

Continue Reading
Book Clubs
A Long Way from Home Book Club Notes

Take your book club on the race of a lifetime around Australia with Peter Carey’s A Long Way From Home.

Also by Peter Carey

Theft: A Love Story
The Tax Inspector
Illywhacker
Oscar and Lucinda
Collected Stories
The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith
Bliss
Jack Maggs
Amnesia
The Chemistry of Tears
Parrot and Olivier in America
True History of the Kelly Gang
His Illegal Self
Theft
Wrong About Japan
My Life as a Fake

Recommendations

The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
A Gentleman in Moscow
Echo Burning
The Heart's Invisible Furies
The Girl on the Train
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
Dragonfly In Amber
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Swing Time
The Bear and The Nightingale
Tiger Men
Ready Player One
The Light Between Oceans
Breath
The Travelling Cat Chronicles
The Trip of a Lifetime
Uncommon Type
Colombiano
New Boy