Friday, December 30, 2011

Peter Carey

Peter Carey's novels include Parrot and Olivier in America.

From his Q & A at the Man Booker Prize website:

MBP: You were researching [Parrot and Olivier in America] in America during the presidential elections. Was Democracy in America often cited during the campaigning? How important is it to contemporary American politics?

PC: I don't recall Tocqueville being quoted during the campaign, although he is always being quoted, so I must be wrong. When I first learned that my American friends had all studied Democracy in America at school, I foolishly believed that this must have involved them reading the entire book. Of course I have met many people who have read every single word, but the majority seem to have read only those pages where Tocqueville speaks in support of the American idea. His doubts and fears have completely passed them by.

MBP: Many of your novels play out across two countries. Is this something to do with being an Australian living in New York?

PC: I think it has a great deal to do with being born in a Commonwealth country in 1943, inheriting the notion that there was a real country somewhere else, not where I was born. That home was a green place we had never visited, where our own success and failure would ultimately be judged. Thinking of two countries is a colonial habit. To understand how Australian politicians live in two countries, look at our enthusiasm for British and (later) American military causes.

In any case, I have always inhabited two worlds simultaneously. One in my head and the other...[read on]
Read a 2006 blog post on "Cultural cringe" and Peter Carey's Theft.

--Marshal Zeringue