9,147 book reviews and counting...

A Long Way from Home Reviews

A Long Way from Home by Peter Carey

A Long Way From Home

Peter Carey

4.16 out of 5

6 reviews

Imprint: Faber & Faber
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication date: 11 Jan 2018
ISBN: 9780571338832

Together with Willie, their lanky navigator, they embark upon the Redex Trial, a brutal race around the continent, over roads no car will ever quite survive.A Long Way from Home is Peter Carey's late style masterpiece;

  • The TimesBook of the Year
3 stars out of 5
James Marriott
13 Jan 2018

"a novel one reads with admiration and respect"

It is a novel one reads with admiration and respect, but it fails to touch the heart as successfully as Carey’s Booker-prizewinning novels Oscar and Lucinda and True History of the Kelly Gang. That’s because Titch and his wife aren’t only physically tiny. They are dwarfed by the size of the issues Carey expects them to support.

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
14 Mar 2018

"...a propulsive account of an Australian road race, a “Cannonball Run” with sociopolitical commentary lashed to the bumper"

With all its inventive momentum, all its pleasurable beats, the fast pace of the race, the scenery unfurling, the novel ends up far from where it started, in a place of historical reckoning and colonial guilt. Carey’s longtime readers will appreciate his arrival here after so many Australian journeys, and this entry point might serve as a template for moving forward, a way to ensure that Carey’s polyphonic symphony of voices isn’t damned by a notable absence. Using a wild road race, he’s found a journey into Australia’s broken past. 

4 stars out of 5
Arminta Wallace
27 Jan 2018

"...a novel whose powerful ambience, multiple ironies, sly humour and slew of memorable characters are impressive on their own terms"

Is it a journey worth making with him? For this reader, the answer is a resounding “yes”. A Long Way From Home is not a political tract, but a novel whose powerful ambience, multiple ironies, sly humour and slew of memorable characters are impressive on their own terms...However, the book also has a legitimate socio-political point to make. Rooted in a horrifying past, it has its sights fixed on a hopeful future. 

5 stars out of 5
Alex Preston
15 Jan 2018

"Peter Carey’s best novel in decades"

It is interesting that Carey’s publishers promote this novel as his “late style masterpiece”; what kept striking me, at least at first, was how similar it was in style and substance to his earlier work. The conceit of the Redex Trial imbues the novel with the same sense of rollicking picaresque that we got in Oscar and Lucinda. There’s the same deeply felt engagement with the Australian landscape that we found in True History of the Kelly Gang...At the end of the novel, Bachhuber’s son recognises that his father’s life had been spent wrestling with the problem of the ethical representation of a terrible historical wrong: how to “record the truth and keep the secret”. Carey himself has achieved exactly this, in his best novel in years, maybe decades.

  • The Sunday TimesBooks of the Year
5 stars out of 5
Peter Kemp
14 Jan 2018

"Intensely engaging in more ways than one..."

A Long Way from Home (whose title acquires multiple meanings as the novel progresses) closes in, by a devious route, on the dispossession of Australia’s Aboriginals. What opens as a story about a race ends as one about race. As Willie the teacher learns a great deal, pages fill with graphic instances of the murder and maltreatment of Australia’s indigenous inhabitants. Titch (whose sleeves hide cigarette burns) and Willie (who has a hole beneath a shoulder blade) are both scarred by an ugly past. Intensely engaging in more ways than one, Carey’s high-octane novel shows that their country is, too.

  • Financial TimesBook of the Year
4 stars out of 5
Andrew Dickson
12 Jan 2018

"Carey’s eye for zestful storytelling is as sharp as ever — as is his ventriloquist’s ear"

Carey’s eye for zestful storytelling is as sharp as ever — as is his ventriloquist’s ear. Not since True History of the Kelly Gang (2000) has he seemed so on-song...And to an extent it disguises the fact that A Long Way from Home’s strength — that hyperactive zest — is also its chief flaw. Often it feels as if the author is not so much writing a story as wrestling a whole armful of them; no sooner does he have one pinned down than another escapes, squirming through the antipodean dust... for all its comic brio, A Long Way from Home tugs inescapably towards tragedy, and often seems overwhelmed by it.