Excerpt from Carpentaria by Alexis Wright, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Carpentaria

A Novel

by Alexis Wright

Carpentaria by Alexis Wright
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2009, 528 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2010, 528 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Sacha Dollacker

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


It was a funny thing about the river. Anybody and everybody thought they might ride this river like some legendary buck-jumping wild horse called Diesel or Gidgee or Mulga. People were always travelling up to the northern coastline over the rough roads of the Gulf on long weekends. They'd haul up and launch straight over the side into the yellow river: flash fishing boats with sixties country-and-western names, like Donna, Stella, and Trixie. Bright coloured boats, powered by engines of many horsepowers, bought with top dollar gained from doing stretch shifts two kilometres down underground, hauling up rich ores scraped from the mother lode embedded in sequences of rock that looked like the growth rings of a powerful, ancient being.

And on the water they would cast a line here, a line there, over the sides with state-of-the-art fishing tackle, but no knowledge of the way of the river. Nothing was thought about it. There were a considerable number of people living in the region now, with the great influx of mine workers who had nothing to do on their days off. More new mines became established in the region with little regard to anyone's say-so.

After the mining stopped, neither Normal Phantom and his family nor his family's relations, past or present, rated a mention in the official version of the region's history. There was no tangible evidence of their existence. Even in Uncle Micky's collection of bullet cartridges.

Micky had lived with a metal detector for God knows how long. He said he had a fever which drove him on because he would never know when he picked up the last piece of evidence -- all of those forty-fours, thirty-thirtys, three-o-threes, twelve gauges -- all kinds of cartridges used in the massacre of the local tribes. He had maps, names of witnesses, details, the lot. A walking encyclopaedia. Now his voice lives on in the great archive of cassettes which he left for the war trials he predicted would happen one day. But no tourists go to Micky's museum. Maybe because it was built in the wrong spot. That's fighting for you. Fighting, fighting all the time for a bit of land and a little bit of recognition.

All the old mines, old mining equipment, old miners, old miners' huts, skeletons of miners in the cupboard -- anything to do with mining was packaged in a mishmash of nothing words and marketed on gloss as the ultimate of local tourist attractions. The shiny covers of these tourist brochures celebrating selected historical sites and museums ought to grab you from across the room at airports, hotels and motels, or from the rack of any tourist or travel centre selling the highlights of mining. You can't even hide the stuff because of its iridescence.

But this was not vaudeville. Wars were fought here. If you had your patch destroyed you'd be screaming too. The serpent's covenant permeates everything, even the little black girls with hair combed back off their faces and bobby-pinned neatly for church, listening quietly to the nation that claims to know everything except the exact date its world will end. Then, almost whispering, they shyly ask if the weather has been forecast correctly today.

If you are someone who visits old cemeteries, wait awhile if you visit the water people. The old Gulf country men and women who took our besieged memories to the grave might just climb out of the mud and tell you the real story of what happened here.

Copyright 2006 by Alexis Wright

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Islamic Enlightenment
    The Islamic Enlightenment
    by Christopher de Bellaigue
    In this comprehensive and well-researched history, de Bellaigue examines the evolution of Islamic ...
  • Book Jacket: The Leavers
    The Leavers
    by Lisa Ko
    The day before Deming Guo saw his mother for the last time, she surprised him at school. A navy blue...
  • Book Jacket: Wonderful Feels Like This
    Wonderful Feels Like This
    by Sara Lovestam
    High school is hard; or perhaps, more accurately, growing up and finding oneself is hard. This is ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Scribe of Siena
    by Melodie Winawer

    Equal parts transporting love story, meticulously researched historical fiction, and compelling time-travel narrative.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Chalk Pit

The Chalk Pit:
A Ruth Galloway Mystery

A string of murders takes Ruth underground in the newest book in the series.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T W Don't M A R

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -