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True History of of the Kelly Gang by Peter…

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

by Peter Carey

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Title:True History of of the Kelly Gang
Authors:Peter Carey
Info:Vintage (2005), Paperback
Collections:Read 2012

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



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Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
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 |
Well written, interesting, and quickly paced novel. This was a subject I knew nothing about, but I was happy to learn about the wild days of Australia and this mythic outlaw. ( )
  ProfH | Jan 15, 2017 |
Really fascinating novel by Australian writer Peter Carey about the famous 19th-c. Australian bandit. The conceit of the novel is that it consists of original manuscript fragments written by Kelly himself and compiled by an anonymous editor with the initials "S.C." I listened to the audiobook, which is narrated beautifully by John Negroponte, but I'd like to read the actual book, since it appears that the nature of the fictional manuscripts and Kelly's fictional writing style (ungrammatical, unpunctuated) are part of the point. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
In Australia the eternal argument is; was Ned Kelly a murderer or a hero? This book imagines Ned giving his own account of the events that culminated in his demise. The Irish settlers had it tough in colonial times, and you can't help but share Ned's indignation at their harsh treatment by the wealthy elite. The book describes perfectly the early development of the national psyche of Australians; the sense of righteousness, the distrust of authority, the struggle against the wild environment, and of course the much vaunted 'mateship', all those things are epitomised in the story of the Kelly gang. Peter Carey does a wonderful job of giving Ned a voice. ( )
  Estramir | Nov 18, 2016 |
'the terror of the unyielding law...the knowledge of unfairness were deep in his bones and marrow'
By sally tarbox on 8 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
'I do not know what childhood or youth I ever had. What remained if any were finally taken away inside that gaol boiled off me like fat and marrow is rendered within the tallow pot'.
An absorbing narrative, supposedly by Kelly himself and intended for his daughter, this brings out the brutality of late 19th century life in Australia. With power firmly in the hands of the Anglo-Australians, the poor Irish were at their mercy.
A cumulation of events, notably the imprisonment of his beloved mother, propels him to extreme action...
From beginning this book with a vague impression of Kelly as just an outlaw who got his comeuppance, I finished it with a lot of empathy for his hard life and was rooting for him. Sometimes it felt like it just went from one violent incident to the next; nonetheless it kept me reading and will remain with me. ( )
  starbox | Jul 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 60 (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
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)

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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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