26 Mar 2018

A Long Way from Home by Peter Carey


Like many of Peter Carey's books, this one trips along with a jaunty style and much humour, which belies the dark events and emotions which skate beneath the surface.


This book in particular is one with many stories and many levels - each to be relished in their own right. The Bobs family - feisty Irene and natty Titch dreaming of owing a Ford franchise; Titch's irrepressible father who make's his son's life a misery with his madcap schemes and treachery - and at the heart of the novel is the teacher and ex. map librarian, Willie Bachuber, who having suffered being a German in postwar Australia, discovers on losing his job and reputation, that he is actually a half caste aborigine. The motor of the story is the Redex endurance motor race, which Titch enters to promote his new Holden dealership, taking his wife, as an excellent driver and Willie as navigator. Willie discovers the evil which marks the map of Australia - sites of aboriginal massacres - before leaving the race and discovering his own identity. This is the first novel in which Carey has confronted Australia's treatment of its aboriginal, indigenous community - but this one rings true, confronting the evils inflicted and revealing something of the remaining culture. It is a good yarn, but one with great depth.