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What's to be gained from telling this illiterate bushranger's story yet again? Quite a lot, as it turns out. For starters, there is the remarkable vernacular poetry of Carey's narrative voice. Fierce, funny, ungrammatical, steeped in Irish legends and the frontier's moral code, this voice is the novel's great achievement--and perhaps the greatest in Carey's distinguished career. It paints a vivid picture of an Australia where English landowners skim off the country's best territory while government land grants allow the settlers just enough acreage to starve. Cheated, lied to, and persecuted by the authorities at every opportunity, young Kelly retains no faith in his colonial masters. What he does trust, oddly, is the power of words:
And here is the thing about them men they was Australians they knew full well the terror of the unyielding law the historic memory of UNFAIRNESS were in their blood and a man might be a bank clerk or an overseer he might never have been lagged for nothing but still he knew in his heart what it were to be forced to wear the white hood in prison he knew what it were to be lashed for looking a warder in the eye ... so the knowledge of unfairness were deep in his bone and in his marrow.Ned Kelly as literary hero? Strangely enough, that's what he becomes, at least in Carey's rendering. Pouring his heart out in a series of letters to the country at large, Kelly wants nothing more than to be heard--and for the dirt-poor son of an Irish convict, that's an audacious ambition indeed. It's not so surprising, then, that his story continues to speak to Australians. Like all colonial countries, Australia was built at a steep human price, and the memory of all those silenced voices lives on. True History of the Kelly Gang takes its epigraph from Faulkner: "The past is not dead. It is not even past." And like Faulkner's own vast chronicle of dispossession, it's haunted by tragedies as large as history itself. --Mary Park --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
That Carey makes this a history written by Ned Kelly is all the more compelling.
Carey not only writes an incredible story, the style is also a demonstration of his skill as a writer and his unique voice in Australian literature.
I found it a chore to get through and boring to the very last page, despite the setting and surprising twists and turns the plot takes.
A cracker. Could not put it down. You feel like you're there with Ned.Published 2 months ago by daveofoz
When they say it's in the outlaws own words they mean it. To me, reading is like a movie but this is a hard read and slows you by making language errors I'm not used to. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Sharon
I've always been fascinated by Australia, though I've never wanted to live there. I knew little about Ned Kelly except that he was a folk hero to some and a hardened murderer to... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Star of the Sea
Initially unaware that both books were short-listed for the Booker in 2001, I read True History of the Kelly Gang shortly after finishing McEwan's Atonement. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Michael Moisio
This is a page turner. I read all 369 pages in a little over one day. I can see why the book won an award.Published 9 months ago by John Niendorf
Here is the story of Ned Kelly, as told in his own words. Or at least that is the novel's conceit. In True History of the Kelly Gang Peter Carey channels Australia's most famous... Read morePublished 9 months ago by M. C. Buell