"From the two time Booker Prize-winning author, an improvisation on the life of Alexis de Tocqueville, and an irrepressibly funny portrait of the impossible friendship between a master and a servant. Olivier is a French aristocrat, the traumatised child of survivors of the Revolution; Parrot the son of an itinerant English printer who always wanted to be an artist but has ended up a servant. Born on different sides of history, their lives will be joined by their travels in America. When Olivier sets sail for the New World - ostensibly to study its prisons but in reality to save his neck from one more revolution - Parrot is sent with him, as spy, protector, foe and foil. As the narrative shifts between the perspectives of Parrot and Olivier, and their picaresque travels together and apart - in love and politics, prisons and the world of art"--Jacket.