Irene Bobs loves fast driving. Her husband is the best car salesman in western Victoria. Together they enter the Redex Trial, a brutal race around the ancient continent over roads no car will ever quite survive. With them is their lanky fair-haired navigator, Willie Bachhuber, a quiz show champion and failed schoolteacher whose job it is to call out the turns, the grids, the creek crossings on a map that will finally remove them, without warning, from the lily-white Australia they know so well.
This thrilling, high-speed story starts in one way and then takes you someplace else. It is often funny, the more so as the world gets stranger, and always a page-turner, even as you learn a history these characters never knew themselves. Set in the 1950s amid the consequences of the age of empires, this brilliantly vivid and lively novel reminds us how Europeans took possession of a timeless culture – the high purpose they invented and the crimes they committed along the way.
About the author
Peter Carey was born in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, and now lives in New York. He is the author of fourteen novels (including one for children), two volumes of short stories, and two books on travel. Amongst other prizes, Carey has won the Booker Prize twice (for Oscar and Lucinda and The True History of the Kelly Gang), the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize twice (for Jack Maggs and The True History of the Kelly Gang), and the Miles Franklin Literary Award three times (for Bliss, Oscar and Lucinda and Jack Maggs).
What a treasure trove of story-telling Peter Carey is. This is a love story, an adventure tale and a history lesson all rolled into one. Starting in the small town of Bacchus Marsh, we meet car dealers Irene and Titch Bobs, and their neighbour Willie Bachhuber, a tall blond man with a knowledge of maps. The three of them embark on the Around Australia Redex car trial in 1953 in search of fame and fortune and adventure. In the far distant Kimberley Ranges of Western Australia, quite a plot unfolds. Surprise revelations, even more surprising characters. I wanted more by the end of the book, 320 pages just wasn’t enough.