From two-time Booker Prize winner Peter Carey, a novel that circumnavigates 1954 Australia, revealing as much about the country/continent as it does about three audacious individuals who take part in the infamous 10,000-mile race, the Redex Trial.
A Long Way from Home, Peter Carey’s 14th novel, uses the story of a light-skinned Indigenous Australian who has been brought up white to address the country’s brutal history of racism … Carey has found a way to delve deeply into a topic that was previously morally unavailable, so that what starts out feeling like a typical, jauntily whimsical Peter-Carey-by-numbers soon becomes something more complex and powerful … His best novel in years, maybe decades.
What a delightful writer Peter Carey is, and how varied are the delights he offers. A Long Way From Home,’’ the 14th novel by the two-time Booker winner, displays many of the typically polychromatic Carey pleasures ... Any novelist can write about anything, as long as he or she does it in an aesthetically convincing and morally attuned way, and Carey does both splendidly here. A Long Way From Home charts old territory and strikes out in new directions. It’s one of Carey’s best, and boldest, efforts yet.
The early chapters, set in postwar Australia, feel like the setup for a rom-com road race … Prescient readers might catch sounds here and there of the drama that lies ahead, but everyone else will probably jump out of this slow-moving plot before it reaches the main event. That’s too bad because Carey eventually arrives at a profound and poignant story, though it has little to do with the zany car race … The action in these latter chapters is often oblique, obscured further by elliptical conversations, partly in dialect. But that’s an intentional and rather brilliant representation of Willie’s plight. He’s a man determined to unearth the richness of Aboriginal culture even while respecting its secrets. Those conflicting goals ultimately find perfect expression in Carey’s strange narrative.