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Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
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Oscar and Lucinda (original 1988; edition 2012)

by Peter Carey

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3,304491,649 (3.77)359
Member:zapzap
Title:Oscar and Lucinda
Authors:Peter Carey
Info:RHA eBooks Adult (2012): Random House Australia
Collections:Ebooks
Rating:**
Tags:australian, historical fiction, religion, gambling, loneliness, booker prize, pov, ebook, 2012

Work details

Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey (1988)

  1. 20
    Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (wonderlake)
  2. 00
    Wanting by Richard Flanagan (merry10)
  3. 01
    The Colour by Rose Tremain (wonderlake)
    wonderlake: Similar (literally) 'builing a new life' story on the other side of the world. Roderick Blackstone (The Colour) has a gambling "System"/debts
  4. 01
    Father and Son: A Study of Two Temperaments by Edmund Gosse (KayCliff)
  5. 01
    The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (rrmmff2000)
  6. 03
    The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (wonderlake)
    wonderlake: Both Oscar and Ripley are afraid of water
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» See also 359 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
This month's choice, Peter Carey's Oscar and Lucinda, was never going to be a popular one. Most of our group have either tried reading it in the past or have steered away from it all together.

In my experience, that has been a common reaction to this book, but I decided our group was up to the challenge so included it in this year's line up.

It tells the quirky tale of two very off-beat characters, namely Oacar and Lucinda, who meet by chance and are drawn to each other by an obsession with gambling. But there are other forces at work here and the story that builds around these two protagonists weaves into a complex set of life lessons that only Carey can pull off in a novel.

Our opinions varied - which was completely expected. Nancy and Tera gave it a firm "no thank you". Their comments included; too wordy, terrible ending, jumps around too much and characters unbelievable. Lorna could find no empathy with the characters at all and Carol found it hard work. "I had to plough my way through", she commented.

But on the other end of the scale Denise and Jeanette thought it a wonderful book. Full of beautiful words, great research with so much to say about Australia and its people. Viti loved the language, the short chapters and the symbolic nature of the story.

We did agree that Peter Carey's writing does not make for an easy read and either you like him or you don't. But I believe Oscar and Lucinda to be a very unique story that caters to a vast number of readers. But you must open the book with an open mind, to both the story and the author's style, otherwise you won't get past the first chapter!

I read this book about 10 years ago after being told "it was a load of rubbish!" by a library customer. Here we have the crux to finding good books. One man's rubbish becomes another's treasure. And I'll end with a quote from Denise who summed it up with "I'm so glad I read Oscar and Lucinda. It is a book I will never forget!"

Tell Me This ... "Can someone describe the book's plot?"
We all found the plot of Oscar and Lucinda to be rather elusive and shifting. There appears to be a few points during the story where everything is coming together and then it moves sideways once more and starts building again.
There was a general consensus that Carey used organised religion and gambling as symbols for people's needs to believe and belong, and glass (or more precisely) Oscar's glass church, as a paradigm for life itself. If you are reading Peter Carey, things are never so simple as merely looking for a plot!
  jody12 | Feb 13, 2017 |
I don't know if it's because this is the third book I've read recently that's had excessive soul-searching about various protestant sub-denominations but I was struggling so much to care about anything that happened in this for the first 100 pages that I'm abandoning it. I don't feel like the author's level of technical skill matches the minute detail into which he delves into the subjects and characters involved in this novel. There's nothing massively wrong with it, but it does not feel worth the investment of my time to be perfectly honest.
  thebookmagpie | Aug 7, 2016 |
he most original and rewarding novel to appear in the English language for many years'
By sally tarbox on 21 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
A wonderful, slightly magical tale of two unusual characters; Oscar, the son of a Plymouth Brethren preacher and marine biologist in Devon (lifted from Edmund Gosse's 'Father and Son- another fantastic read incidentally), and independent-minded Australian heiress Lucinda.
Carey's ability to evoke emotion and describe his characters' feelings and impulses are superb. Thus Lucinda's moods that spring from a complex combination of hurt, anger and uncertainty are totally clear to the reader. And it takes some sort of writer to have his reader (well this reader!) fall in love with a character (Oscar) who is both unattractive and unsuccessful.
A heart rending tale overall, notably in the difficult relationship between Oscar and his father, who finds it so hard to express the love he feels; and of course in that with Lucinda... A true classic ( )
  starbox | Jul 10, 2016 |
Oscar and Lucinda were pretty strange and at first, it was interesting to read about them. By the end, my interest was lukewarm as they never really became people that I could relate to in any way. I also found that life in ~1850s Australia as shown in this book was not very vivid to my mind. ( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 28, 2016 |
I don't know if it's because this is the third book I've read recently that's had excessive soul-searching about various protestant sub-denominations but I was struggling so much to care about anything that happened in this for the first 100 pages that I'm abandoning it. I don't feel like the author's level of technical skill matches the minute detail into which he delves into the subjects and characters involved in this novel. There's nothing massively wrong with it, but it does not feel worth the investment of my time to be perfectly honest.
  hoegbottom | Jan 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peter Careyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Le Tan, PierreCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Syrier, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
for Alison Summers with all my love
First words
If there was a bishop, my mother would have him to tea.
Quotations
You will preach what you do not believe to men who do not care.
She understood as women often do more easily than men, that the declared meaning of a spoken sentence is only its overcoat, and the real meaning lies underneath its scarves and buttons.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679777504, Paperback)

Oscar Hopkins is a high-strung preacher's kid with hydrophobia and noisy knees. Lucinda Leplastrier is a frizzy-haired heiress who impulsively buys a glass factory with the inheritance forced on her by a well-intentioned adviser. In the early parts of this lushly written book, author Peter Carey renders the seminal turning points in his protagonists' childhoods as exquisite 19th-century set pieces. Young Oscar, denied the heavenly fruit of a Christmas pudding by his cruelly stern father, forever renounces his father's religion in favor of the Anglican Church. "Dear God," Oscar prays, "if it be Thy will that Thy people eat pudding, smite him!" Lucinda's childhood trauma involves a beautiful doll bought by her struggling mother with savings from the jam jar; in a misguided attempt to tame the doll's unruly curls, young Lucinda mutilates her treasure beyond repair. Neither of these coming-of-age stories quite explains how the grownup Oscar and Lucinda each develop a guilty passion for gambling. Oscar plays the horses while at school, and Lucinda, now an orphaned heiress, finds comfort in a game of cards with an odd collection of acquaintances. When the two finally meet, on board a ship bound for New South Wales, they are bound by their affinity for risk, their loneliness, and their awkwardly blossoming (but unexpressed) mutual affection. Their final high-stakes folly--transporting a crystal palace of a church across (literally) godforsaken terrain--strains plausibility, and events turn ghastly as Oscar plays out his bid for Lucinda's heart. Yet even the unconvincing plot turns are made up for by Carey's rich prose and the tale's unpredictable outcome. Although love proves to be the ultimate gamble for Oscar and Lucinda, the story never strays too far from the terrible possibility that even the most thunderstruck lovers can remain isolated in parallel lives.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:43 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A rebellious Anglican priest and a teenaged heiress who buys a glass factory in Australia pursue an unlikely romance.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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