Told in alternating narratives, A Long Way from Home is a year in the life of Irene and Titch Bobs and their neighbor Willie Bachhuber. The Bobs decide to enter the Redex Trial, a grueling car race which covers thousands of miles of rural roads in Australia. Willie, an expert map reader, is coerced into being their navigator. During the course of the race, the trio faces many hardships, adventures and injuries. Willie and Irene are the narrators, and because their personalities are so different, their is sometimes two entirely contrasting perspectives concerning the same event.
There are chapters in A Long Way from Home that are engaging, fun and exciting, and then there are others that are unnecessarily detailed and dull. Also, the end, for me, was disappointing. Without giving it away, I will only say that Irene practically disappears and Willie becomes the main focus. I’ve enjoyed several of Peter Carey’s novels immensely. I’m ambivalent about this one.