"All around us the world rose and fell, people went hungry, the days were hard, kings fled, nobles fretted, but we had, until now, occupied a tea-sweet backwater."
I managed to digest most of this morsel on a lengthy 3.5 hour train ride and to a great extent the journeys of Parrot and Olivier mimicked the endless array of characters on said train. When the world is turned Topsy-turvy, a French aristocrat leaves the bedlam of post revolutionary France for the very different surrounds of America while an aspiring English artist becomes his servant and joins in his journeys, with adventures of his own.
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010, this novel appears to have garnered some quite impressive reviews. While I found it to be a pleasant distraction from my train trip and the lush language held my interest, there was just something missing that kept it from being a 5 pointer for me.
My version of the book will soon be undertaking its own little journey back to its owner in Melbourne who generously loaned it to me. 4 out of 5.