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True History of the Kelly Gang (original 2000; edition 2001)

by Peter Carey

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3,144551,783 (3.66)235
Member:Niecierpek
Title:True History of the Kelly Gang
Authors:Peter Carey
Info:Vintage Books USA (2001), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:owned, unread

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True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey (2000)

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Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
I found the story of Ned Kelly's life to be interesting. The writing style, the book is written as if Kelly actually wrote it, was annoying and distracted from the story at times. The writing is full of run on sentences, no quotation marks, abbreviations and lots of adjectivials in place of swear words. ( )
  RachelNF | Jan 15, 2016 |
There's a rumour in my family, well at least it was the story that my grandfather always told, that some of our family helped out the Kelly Gang. And whether or not it's true, they were certainly the right demographic - Irish Catholic ex-convicts who lived in poverty in country Victoria.

Due in large part to relating to the people and the land in the story so strongly, this was a fantastic read for me. Carey fictionalised the story of Ned Kelly's life, and I enjoyed the way he captured Ned Kelly's voice, based on actual writings he left behind. Before he was hanged. (Point of note, I grew up on a farm near Jerilderie, of the famous Jerilderie Letter) ( )
  evilmoose | Dec 13, 2015 |
The voice of Ned Kelly is exquisitely brought to life by Peter Carey. This is a tough read, both as a result of its style and the story of the doomed bushranger. ( )
  deckehoe | Nov 27, 2015 |
Well written and sympathetically to the topic - makes you want to believe the story is true.
Read in Samoa May 2002. ( )
  mbmackay | Nov 24, 2015 |
[4.5]

I really loved this, especially the way it was written. It felt like living Ned Kelly's life because of the use of colloquial language. I couldn't get the thick Aussie accent out of my head. Plus the novel was incredibly fast paced and brutal. Unputdownable! ( )
  ebethiepaige | Oct 17, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peter Careyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hériz, Enrique deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The past is not dead. It is not even past.

-- William Faulkner
Dedication
for Alison Summers
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By dawn at lest half the members of the Kelly gang were badly wounded and it was then the creature appeared from behind police lines.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375724672, Paperback)

"What is it about we Australians, eh?" demands a schoolteacher near the end of Peter Carey's True History of the Kelly Gang. "Do we not have a Jefferson? A Disraeli? Might not we find someone better to admire than a horse-thief and a murderer?" It's the author's sole nod to the contradictory feelings Ned Kelly continues to evoke today, more than a century after his death. A psychopathic killer to some, a crusading folk hero to others, Kelly was a sharpshooting outlaw who eluded a brutal police manhunt for nearly two years. For better or worse, he's now a part of the Australian national myth. Indeed, the opening ceremonies for the Sydney Olympics featured an army of Ned Kellys dancing about to Irish music, which puts him in the symbolic company of both kangaroos and Olivia Newton-John.

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:48 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Ned Kelly, the legendary nineteenth-century Australian folk-hero, describes how he, his brother, and two friends led authorities on a twenty-month manhunt, marked by widespread populist support, before his capture and execution.

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