Parrot and Olivier is Peter Carey’s most recent novel, set in early 19th century America. Olivier— an improvisation on the life of Alexis de Tocqueville—is the traumatized child of aristocratic survivors of the French Revolution. Parrot is the motherless son of an itinerant English engraver.
They are born on different sides of history, but their lives are joined by an enigmatic one-armed marquis...
Through Parrot and Olivier, Peter Carey explores the adventure of American democracy in conversation with Claire Messud and Edmund White.
Peter Carey was born in Australia in 1943. His first work, The Fat Man in History was published in 1974. He went on to write War Crimes, Bliss, Illywhacker, Oscar and Lucinda, The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith, Jack Maggs, True History of the Kelly Gang, My Life as a Fake, Wrong About Japan, Theft, His Illegal Self, and The Tax Inspector. Illywhacker was short listed for the Booker Prize, while Oscar and Lucinda and True History of the Kelly Gang both won it. Oscar and Lucinda was made into a major motion picture starring Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett in 1997. Peter Carey taught at NYU, Princeton, The New School, and Barnard College before he joined Hunter College as the Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing in 1993, where he continues to teach.
Claire Messud is the author of When The World Was Steady, The Last Life and The Hunters, which contains two novellas. Her most recent novel, The Emperor’s Children, was longlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize. Messud has received fellowships and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Radcliffe Institute and the Humanities Center at Harvard. She writes regularly for the New York Review of Books, and teaches in the MFA program at Hunter College.
Edmund White has written more than twenty books, most recently City Boy, a memoir of New York in the 1970s. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Prize for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among other honors, he was named an Officier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. His best-known novel is A Boy's Own Story. He teaches writing at Princeton University.
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