This is the story of Parrot and Olivier, a British servant and a French aristocrat, and their travels in America in about 1830 - the relatively early days of democracy. It's funny, in a heavily ironic way, and well-written, and clever, with some interesting observations on the Nature of Democracy as seen from a Frenchman's point of view (his opinion: "it will never last").
I've always been quite fascinated with the idea of America: the idea that every man is free and equal, that it is the Land of Promise, the land of the American Dream, etc, and it's moments like the truly splendid Fourth of July parade towards the end of the novel that confirm that fascination. Mainly because America seems so much more patriotic than the English, who mostly approve of the monarchy in a distant, oh-yes-they're-nice-to-have-around-aren't-they kind of way...and then go on to blame the government for everything. Anyway, I was definitely rooting for America in this novel: "SHUT UP, OLIVIER, AMERICA IS BETTER THAN YOU!"
The ending was unexpected but nicely written, and nicely comforting, on Parrot's side at least. The whole novel was nicely written, in fact, but it did not exactly blow me away. There was nothing really wrong with Parrot and Olivier. I liked it, but I don't think I'll read it again. That's all.