"You can't frighten me," said Bruder Duck. "There's a great world out there and I plan to see it. I'm going to fairs, and puppet shows, and I'm going to cross oceans and have all sorts of adventures."
"You want to be fat and rich," said Bruder Mouse. "You want to find gold."
"It's true," said Bruder Duck, "that if I chanced to stumble over a nugget I would thank the Lord for my good fortune and if I found an object of value I might buy cheaply, I would not refuse the blessing."
"But what of the issue?" said Bruder Mouse.
"What issue?" said the Duck, who was busy eating the cheese pudding again.
"That they have Sirkuses in foreign countries, where they put God's creatures in cages. They have butcher shops where they sell our Bruders' flesh."
"If what you say is so," said the Bruder Duck, "then I would change their minds."
"How would you do this?" asked the Mouse.
"I would do doody and fall over," said the Duck. "I would make them laugh."


From Bruder Duck's Travels, Badberg Edition


The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith

Author: Peter Carey
Year: 1994

Peter Carey's novel The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith chronicles the "adventures" of the title character, Tristan Smith. Most of the action takes place in two fictional nations: Voorstand and Efica.

The two countries have very different cultures and ideals. Voorstand is the imperial power: culturally and economically sound, it dominates its smaller cousin, Efica, through unfair trade practices, ruthless espionage and cultural bombardment. The greatest affront to Efica, however, is the Sirkus, a loud, soul-destroying and ultimately magical performance that feeds the Voorstanders with such spectacles as the violent deaths of their performers and the excess of greed itself. These Sirkus' chronicle the lives of Bruder Mouse and Bruder Duck, who have become sacred entities within Voorstandish culture and everyday life (which of course consists of a thinly veiled poke at Disney itself).

Into this world comes Tristan Smith, a malformed, heroically willful, and unforgivingly observant child. Tristan's life includes adventure and loss (his mother is murdered by Voorstandish sympathizers on the eve of an election in Efica). His adventures take him into the heart of Voorstand, and he ends up, in a bizarre way, the anti-star of the Sirkus: hidden and yet revealed, one of them but always the Other.

The book is divided into three parts: My Life in Efica chronicles Tristan's birth and early life, Travels in Voorstand outlines Tristan's illegal venture into the hostile nation, and the Glossary gives meaning to the words that Carey invented for the two nations. The glossary should not be overlooked, as it contains some of the gems of invented history and legend that make this book the gem that it is.

Post-colonial to the teeth, this book parallels the expansion of American influence throughout the world. Citizens of "third world" countries, or such countries as Australia, Canada, Britain and European countries may want to check this book out, to see what our red, white and blue cousins may be doing to us, unaware.

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