A Long Way from Home
Hamish Hamilton, $32.99 pb, 360 pp, 9780143787075
On learning that the premise of Peter Carey’s new novel involved a test of automobile reliability on a round trip across Australia, my first response was to dismiss it as a thin conceit for encompassing the country’s remoter landscape within a work of the imagination. The internet, however, quickly delivered old Pathé newsreels revealing not only that this Redex Trial was a demonstrable historical event, but also that no less than 50,000 people showed up at Sydney Showground to see the cars off on their cross-country journey. Truth, indeed, can sometimes seem stranger than fiction. Didn’t they have anything better to do, even in 1954?