Out of nineteenth-century Australia rides a hero of his people and a man for all nations, in this masterpiece by the Booker Prize-winning author of Oscar and Lucinda and Jack Maggs. Exhilarating, hilarious, panoramic, and immediately engrossing.
This is Ned Kelly's true confession, in his own words and written on the run for an infant daughter he has never seen. To the authorities, this son of dirt-poor Irish immigrants was a born thief and, ultimately, a cold-blooded murderer; to most other Australians, he was a scapegoat and patriot persecuted by "English" landlords and their agents.
With his brothers and two friends, Kelly eluded a massive police manhunt for twenty months, living by his wits and strong heart, supplementing his bushwhacking skills with ingenious bank robberies while enjoying the support of most everyone not in uniform. He declined to flee overseas when he could, bound to win his jailed mother's freedom by any means possible, including his own surrender. In the end, however, she served out her sentence in the same Melbourne prison where, in 1880, her son was hanged.
Still his country's most powerful legend, Ned Kelly is here chiefly a man in full: devoted son, loving husband, fretful father, and loyal friend, now speaking as if from the grave. With this mythic outlaw and the story of his mighty travails and exploits, and with all the force of a classic Western, Peter Carey has breathed life into a historical figure who transcends all borders and embodies tragedy, perseverance, and freedom.
Wall Street Journal - Jaime James
The research is impressively detailed, and Mr. Carey rarely succumbs to the temptation to flaunt it. If you want punctuation and good grammar and a coherent point of view, then go read somebody else's book. But if you want the true history of the Kelly gang, this is it.
Time - Michael Fitzgerald True History of the Kelly Gang offers an energized confabulation of man and myth . . . Carey's most breathtaking feat [and] a fabulous performance.
New York Times - Janet Maslin
Writing so convincingly in Ned's argot that his own elegantly phrased acknowledgments at the end of True History of the Kelly Gang seem starkly incongruous, the Booker Prize-winning author of Oscar and Lucinda invests Ned's account with all the makings of a swaggering adventure tale as well as a classic Western tragedy.
New York Times Book Review - Anthony Quinn
The form and style of the novel could hardly be more striking . . . Bristling with shafts of wit and poetic grace notes . . . Packed with incident, alive with comedy and pathos, True History of the Kelly Gang contains pretty much everything you could ask of a novel. It is an adjectival wonder.
As genuine as a diamond in the rough . . . No reader will be left unmoved.
.... the novel is a tour de force akin to an American Western. Though Kelly may or may not have been the sterling character Carey makes him, his life has been turned into formidable fiction. Highly recommended.
The Bulletin - Australia
A novel that is by turns rambunctious and tender, teeming with life and incident, and whose plainspoken surfaces conceal a strange and prismatic book, richly imagined, ambivalent and passionate.
I completely admire Peter Carey's work, the worlds he enters, the stakes he goes for ,and Ned Kelly's a leap even beyond the others brilliantly constructed, gorgeously written, a simply heartbreaking story.
Kent Haruf True History of the Kelly Gang is a true wonder. It's lyrical and hard-edged at the same time, constantly inventive, pell-mell in its storytelling, and, best of all, the voice Peter Carey invents for Ned Kelly is nothing less than mint-fresh original. This is just amazing writing.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Beau Weight History as truth? I think not. From the most mundane to those elevated moments of achievement, we are constantly bedeviled by, `what is the truth.' Most of this is associated not with what actually happened, rather what we thought happened. Even in this modern age with huge... Read More
Rated of 5
Getting past the title was possibly the hardest and most gripping moment about the novel. Careys choice to label his book the "true" history eminates the idea that this is the first and only proper account of Ned Kelly and the trials and... Read More
Rated of 5
I really enjoyed this book. i put off reading it because it looked boring and i didnt enjoy the first few pages. we had to read it for year 11 english this year. once i actually got around to reading it i couldnt put it down. other than this book... Read More
Rated of 5
The superb imagery, and diction of Carey highlights the harsh nature of not only Kelly's life, and struggle, but the environment in which he lived.
Rated of 5
For me, the most enthralling thing about this book is Kelly's evolving relation to the bush. The relationship between the bushranger and his landscape is one of the most fascinating in our history, and apart from all other reasons why this book... Read More
Rated of 5
you could hardly credit what you are hearing as you engage with a 'ooligan of the Australian bush. this is not a true history, of course, it's the voice of Carey himself, as he lunges us into multiple takes of the dispicable life of a... Read More
A Fraction of the Whole is an uproarious indictment of the modern world and its mores - a rollicking rollercoaster ride from obscurity to infamy, and the moving, memorable story of a father and son whose spiritual symmetry transcends all their many shortcomings.
A riveting epic crime story that is also a book about Boston and Irish America.
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