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Paperback Oscar and Lucinda Book

ISBN: 0060915927

ISBN13: 9780060915926

Oscar and Lucinda

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. On a slow ship bound for Australia, two gamblers find distraction and solace in a deck of cards. One, Oscar Hopkins, who believes God encourages him to gamble; the other, Lucinda Leplastrier, who is...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Wonderful

Oscar and Lucinda is the best book by my favourite living author. I am a failed writer, and it is thanks to authors as talented as Peter Carey (and there are only a handful) that I chose to give up: I couldn't possibly hope to capture human life on the page, with all its infinite possibilities, as beautifully, gracefully, amusingly and touchingly as Peter Carey. As Angela Carter writes on the dust jacket of my copy, "It fills me with a wild, savage envy, and no novelist could say fairer than that". I am currently half way through my second reading of Oscar and Lucinda, and I know what is in store for me. I am prepared to sob like a child, and I am relishing it.Set in England and Australia in the nineteenth century, the novel is essentially about the precariousness of existence and how people's lives are constructed by chance. Its essence is perhaps best captured in Oscar's speech to Lucinda on the ship Leviathan: "Our whole faith is a wager...We bet that there is a God. We bet our life on it...We must stake everything on the unprovable fact of His existence". And so they sit down to a game of cards.Objectivity is perhaps an unattainable goal. When I recommend Oscar and Lucinda to my friends, they generally enjoy it. But this is not enough for me. I want them to feel it as keenly as I do - that Carey is an astonishing writer, possessed of an imagination, intelligence, wit and compassion, and the ability to imbue his writing with these qualities, unrivalled by any living author. And that Oscar and Lucinda is a strange, evocative, beautiful, tender novel which will make them laugh and make them cry and make them wish it would never end. I hope this is recommendation enough.

Almost as good as 'Bliss'

Having read Carey's first novel, 'Bliss', I really didn't think he could write something as good. Luckily for him, and me, and anyone else who reads 'Oscar and Lucinda', he's come very close.Nothing really happens in the book, but it doesn't matter; there's a beauty in the language used that is extremely rare. This book is pure characterization. Carey's characters are dense and human and live before the book begins and after it ends. It's a love story, but not a conventional one. The love between Oscar and Lucinda builds and builds with every written word, up to an ending which even the most astute and well-read reader will never expect. The ending is what makes the book. It is powerful. I haven't cried since I was a boy, but I came damn close reading the last few pages. It's really incredible stuff. I found I was thinking about the last scene for weeks after I finished the book; I've even gone back and read sections. How often does a book do that to you? Not very often, I bet. 'Oscar and Lucinda' is a bit slow, but always interesting, surprising, and touching, like 'Bliss', but in completely different ways. The imagery is brilliant -- you will not see the scenes, you will stand there, with the characters, feeling the sun on your face, breathing the same air they breath. That's how good this is. Go and read it.

Beautifully powerful...

I am hard-pressed to remember two more strange protagonists in all of literature than Oscar and Lucinda. That they meet, fall in love and make a bet on whether a glass church can be transported and constructed "by Easter Sunday" for the benefit of an out-of-the-way congregation and its minister is even more absurd. Yet, page after page, I read, absorbing the wonderful and vibrant detail of mid-nineteenth century England and Australia. Only in the world of this novel could these two characters be "perfect" for each other. And in being written, this book issues a challenge to this world to accept that which is odd and unconventional, that which is outside societal and religious standards. Somehow I am reminded of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice; the interplay between Oscar and Lucinda amongst "strict society" strikes the same chord as that struck in the love story of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, a man and a woman outside the "norm." This book is wonderful reading to get lost in.

Experience 19th-Century Australia

For a week, all I wanted to do was read this book. I read it afew months ago, and I still think of the characters. A truly good bookoffers beginnings, struggles, strides and redemption, and this is such a novel. Lucinda is a hero like none other -- she transcends any conventionality. Her life and actions are so unexpected, so real. She is completely her own person, and I marvel at Carey's ability to know her so well. Carey does it all. He masterfully tells a story of theology, human weakness, passion, geography, politics and history. All this is implicit in the text -- you don't get the impression he's sticking stuff in for authenticity -- it's all relevant. Oscar and Lucinda is not a simplistic book, but it's such a quick read. Sometimes when an author is brilliant, they put you off by showing off. Carey is the kind of person you know is an excellent writer, but only because you love the story. And the characters will inhabit your life. I'm not being hyperbolic. I was fascinated with each life -- I cared what happened. I've never gambled, and yet I felt as excited as Lucinda when she entered the parlors and back rooms. Voyages and sweeping landscape made this the best book I've read in a long time -- maybe ever.

A bittersweet romance in the inimitable Carey style.

The simple legends of a family's past are brought into microscopic focus to become a moving saga. Two unique people, each misfits in their society, gradually come together to create an amazing white elephant - a glass church. This beautiful but impractical artifact, like its creators, is a misfit, and ultimately flawed. But the object of the book is not the final results, but the journey. The stories of the protagonists lives are filled with moving human detail. Each episode strikes a poignant chord. Through their trials and small triumphs, Oscar and Lucinda come of age to plan their great achievement.The story illustrates the ability of human beings to imagine and aspire to divine goals, even if reality intrudes in the effort to achieve them The book is filled with wonder, high ideals... and shortsightedness and miscommunications. Ironic opposites abound. Strengths and weaknesses, the abstract and the actual, churches and gaming hells. And it is nearly impossible to put down until the last page leaves you gasping!
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