Peter Carey steers into Australia's Aboriginal past

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 08:01:16 AM. The two-time Booker Prize winner previously felt that it wasn't his place to speak about race. But his new novel A Long Way from Home explores some of the more fraught and shameful parts of Australia's history.
Photo: Peter Carey, a two-time winner of the Booker Prize, has set his latest novel in 1950s Australia. (Supplied: Heike Steinweg) Acclaimed writer Peter Carey says he previously avoided writing about Australia's Aboriginal past, fearing that it was not his place to speak about race. Photo: Peter Carey's A Long Way From Home. (Supplied) His new novel A Long Way from Home follows the main characters in the Redex Trial, a brutal cross-country endurance car race. But the book also explores some of the more fraught and shameful parts of Australia's history. He sat down with Lateline's Matt Wordsworth to discuss how he approached the story. The novel was inspired by a car race that went through his hometown in rural Victoria "I just remember a hallucinogenic vision of the main street at night and cars coming through and Jack Davey, who was a really big deal radio star ... came through Bacchus Marsh with the window open, waved and said, 'Hi ho everybody' and that was a pretty big deal for me." Race relations and how they're ingrained in the Australian landscape "I was thinking of a book that was about two sets of maps. "One a sort of map you make with a Redex Trial, which is like going around the border pissing and declaring your territory. "And then the other is what we know now — what I know now that I didn't know then — that those maps go over a whole lot of much older maps, ancient maps, I mean songlines, storylines over the traces of religion and culture. "And when you...Read more
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