Flaubert’s and other parrots

We are inspired by the Man Booker Prize today and this parrot’s talent for languages to recommend two novels by former Booker prize winners Peter Carey and Julian Barnes, who’ve both written books with the word ‘parrot’ in the title.

From the Metro ‘Flaubert's parrotA British parrot named Nigel disappeared from his owner’s home four years ago – then returned speaking an entirely different language. Nigel the African Grey used to speak with a strong British accent when owner Darren Chick first took him on as a youngster. But after he vanished, Mr Chick, who is British but lives in Torrance, California, was baffled to hear him chattering in Spanish when he came back. The bird also kept mentioning someone called ‘Larry’.

Flaubert’s parrot by Julian Barnes

A retired English doctor, in solitary widowerhood, makes a pilgrimage through the life and art of Gustave Flaubert, whose work he has always venerated. As he meditates on his passion, he reveals as much about himself as he uncovers about Flaubert.

Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey

Olivier is a French aristocrat, the traumatized child of survivors of the Revolution. Parrot, the son of an itinerant printer who always wanted to be an artist, but has ended up a servant. Born on different sides of history, their lives will be brought together by their travels in America