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True History of of the Kelly Gang by Peter…
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True History of of the Kelly Gang (original 2000; edition 2005)

by Peter Carey

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3,255651,700 (3.67)247
Member:KerryD1971
Title:True History of of the Kelly Gang
Authors:Peter Carey
Info:Vintage (2005), Paperback
Collections:Read 2012
Rating:****
Tags:Fiction

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

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Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
Wow, this was amazing. Ned Kelly, legendary Australian bushranger, tells his story in an urgent vernacular style. I was completely convinced both that this was his voice and that the Kelly family had been unjustly persecuted by the law for years. He was sent to prison at age 15 and by the time he was 26 had killed policemen and was the most wanted man in Australia. He and his gang took over towns and robbed banks but were known to share their takings with the poor. I knew how it would end - Ned’s gang’s last standoff wearing forged metal armor is the stuff of legends - but I was fascinated by how the whole thing unfolded. The book seems to have followed the truth pretty closely, according to Wikipedia. Kelly did write a long document explaining himself that is now in a museum. ( )
  piemouth | Jun 18, 2017 |
I have long wanted to read this book as my late mother gave it to my husband many years ago at my behest.
It is an intriguing look at the life of Ned Kelly one of Australia's most notorious outlaws.
it is narrated by Ned. This device has the reader sympathising with this misunderstood and misjudged character who is depicted as more of a Robin Hood type character. I found the setting had a very strong impact on me also. The vivid portrayals of life in these rural communities, among the early settlers, many descended from convicts was eye-opening.
I am sure this is a tale which will stay with me for sometime. The one quibble I have was the lack of punctuation which had me rereading sentences on many occasions. However I do realise this was a device to make it seem more authentic, as Ned Kelly was of limited education. ( )
  HelenBaker | Jun 12, 2017 |
Although I have no burning desire to visit Australia, I find something especially appealing in most Aussie culture, including books, films and music. Peter Carey its one of my favorite authors. There is a density to his writing that I love. He is such a wonderful storyteller that his books pull me forward, reading faster than I want to. His writing is so good that I want to slow down and savor it but it's hard. This book in particular, written as if in Ned Kelly's own hand, was a joy. It added immeasurably to the sense of time and place.....Australia in the late 1800's. Telling the true tale of Ned Kelly, a classic everyman hero, Peter Carey honors his country's must famous outlaw. ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey is, despite it’s title, a historical fiction novel based on the life and times of Australian bushranger, Ned Kelly. The son of a transported Irishman, Ned appears to have been born to turn to a life of crime. The men on both sides of his family were well used to being harassed and locked up by the colonial police force. Being of Irish descent was a large strike against him in this English colony, and coming from poverty as he did meant there was no real avenue of escape.

Although he tried at various times in his life to “go straight” he was constantly drawn back into a life of crime either by falling in with bad company or having corrupt police and judges push him in that direction. The story is written as a memoir that Ned is creating for his infant daughter, knowing that he will not be around to raise her, this added a certain mystery as I couldn’t help but wonder how reliable a narrator he was being. Although written in nineteenth century Australian slang with very little punctuation, I found this a fairly easy read as it unfolds in a straight forward linear manner. To many, Ned Kelly was a thief and a murderer, but to his own people of the lower-class, he was considered a hero. He defied the authority of the English to become the most wanted man in Australia by the age of 26 and he continued to resist the law until he was finally captured and hung.

The True History of the Kelly Gang is a classic outlaw tale, well researched but still full of adventure, humor and excitement. The writing style really made me feel as if I was reading Ned Kelly’s own words and that I was getting a real history lesson about nineteenth century Australia. Highly entertaining and exceedingly clever, this is a book that I will long remember. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Apr 13, 2017 |
For Australians the jury is still out on Ned Kelly. Cop killer or oppressed Robin Hood? This book seeks to give an account from Ned's point of view, an account ostensibly from Ned's own hand and indeed Ned's own mouth, such is the style. How true is the True History? I don't know but the problem I had with with this book is that it read like a true account, that is a sequence of chronological events that lacked an underlying increase in tension or drama. Yes, there was the inevitable climactic ending but the story lost momentum at times. However, it drew me in quickly and Ned's voice was engaging and authentic. The writing style took a little bit of getting used to and a comma here and there would have improved readability, without the loss of any of that authenticity. I think this book was maybe 3.5 stars for me but I gave it 4 for shining a light on the authoritarian brutality and injustice of those times, particularly for the Irish immigrants. ( )
  Lord_Boris | Feb 21, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
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Peter Careyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hériz, Enrique deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The past is not dead. It is not even past.

-- William Faulkner
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for Alison Summers
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By dawn at least 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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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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