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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.
Overall, I found this to be a very interesting book.
Ned Kelly's story is very well written with consistent voices of believable characters -- a different and unusual tale from Australia's earlier days.
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'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 1 month 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 3 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 4 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 4 months ago by M. C. Buell
It is like reading with an Irish accent...many words are vernacular in Australia...mean nothing to a non Australian...should be re-written in the Western Voice... Read morePublished 7 months ago by paul k mauceri
Ned Kelly was executed in Melbourne jail on 11 November 1880. His last words are supposed to have been ‘Ah well, I suppose it has come to this. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Macca
I read this on a flight to Australia and could not put it down. This is an extremely well written and well researched book, written in Ned Kelly's voice. Read morePublished 9 months ago by reader
Breathtaking. In a thousand years, I never thought I would care about a notorious Australian Bushranger. But I did. Read morePublished 9 months ago by MMP
Second half dragged, I do not bother with boring books and gave up on this one about two thirds through. Hard to imagine anyone believing this writing is original to Ned Kelly - . Read morePublished 10 months ago by Noel M. Parker