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Oscar and Lucinda Paperback – 1997

4.6 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Vintage (1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679777504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679777502
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,973,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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.
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By A Customer on Jan. 22 1998
Format: Paperback
Oscar and Lucinda are a pair of unusual characters , both victims of childhood trauma, who share a weakness for gambling and a penchant for obsessions of all kinds. Carey might have created a simple romance here about two misfits who find each other, and on the surface that is indeed what happens; however, the story is far more complex and is peopled with assorted other characters that give the book added richness. Mr. d'Abbs, Mr. Jeffris, the Strattons, Oscar's father, Theophilus, and others serve to demonstrate that we are all subject to our own foibles and obsessions. One of Carey's messages is clearly that none of us is "normal"; that behind the mask we wear for society lurks a mass of insecurities and imperfections. Oscar and Lucinda give each other what they each seem to need, and it is not at all what the reader expects. If this book has a fault, it may lie in the sometimes disjointed method of narration. It can be intrusive. However, the identity of the narrator--not revealed until the end of the novel--is a nifty twist itself. A challenging read that is well worth the effort.
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Format: Paperback
Peter Carey's Oscar and Lucinda is a historical journey into the experience of coming of age within a developing nation. The two main characters find this out within the progression of time. Oscar Hopkins is the son of puritan, harassed and harangued by his father to follow his faith. Oscar becomes more and more anxious about puritanism and his father and hides out in the yard of the Anglican priest. From there his life is changed forever.
Linda Leplastrier is a repressed free spirit, who after her mother dies discovers gambling via friendly card games. It is this pursuit that leads her to a friendship with Oscar.
The book is very good, well written and keeps you interested, my only problem is that it is a little flat in parts; this only happens occasionally however and the result is an excellent story. There is a great metaphor in the book of the crystal church; life is like a glasshouse, you can look out and others can see in. Your house/self can easily be broken, shattered or destroyed. I truly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it for lovers of colonial history, who enjoy a very well written and researched story.
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Format: Paperback
The story of Oscar Hopkins who, despite being the son of a Baptist (or because of that), becomes an Anglican priest. And the story of Lucinda Leplastrier, who inherits a glass factory in Australia.
The early parts of the novel, in fact nearly the first half of it, are taken up with Oscar and Lucinda's life stories up until the time they meet. Carey switches the narrative between England and Australia, and does so with skill - the chapters are short, helping the reader skip along with the story.
Thereafter, as Oscar and Lucinda meet and they agree on an ultimate bet (the plot device which underpins the latter half of the novel) I thought that the pace and flow of the novel slowed. The real problem I had with it though, and why I think I struggled to maintain an interest the longer the novel went on, was that in fact its characters are very two-dimensional. All, without exception, are eccentrics, reminding me of the worst of Dickens: a series of whimsical characters whose quirks are supposed to amuse and interest the reader. I'm afraid for me, that kind of stuff has a very limited effect, and my boredom threshold is reached very quickly.
To be fair, one could make an argument that Lucinda's character is more fully drawn. Her obsession with gambling could be interpeted as a way of seeking acceptance in the male-dominated world of the mid-nineteenth century. She struggles with the burden of her inheritance and with her feminity - for example, Oscar gains the instant acceptance from her workers she has never had when he visits her glass factory, and she resents that.
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