True History of the Kelly Gang

True History of the Kelly Gang

by Peter Carey
4.1 17

Hardcover(1 AMER ED)

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True History of the Kelly Gang 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ned Kelley and his gang are a powerful myth in Australia. In the 1870s Ned Kelley an Irish youth reluctantly takes up a life of crime and becomes in effect a huge media story. A Robin Hood type character. He finds himself in the middle of the culture clash and resentments caused by the cruel and discriminatory English rulers Vs the downtrodden Irish bush farmers. In a country that was founded by convicts one wonders why Kelley takes on such a mythic statue. This book, a novel, goes a long ways to offer up motive for Kelley in Australia¿s ruthless history of class warfare. Carey has taken a 50 page letter written by the real Kelley with it¿s long run on sentences, no commas, change of subject mid sentence and incorporated this style into his fictional Kelley¿s voice. The book's structure is the discovery of many other parcels of text written (Chapters) all written in the first person by our fictional Kelley, all in this fast paced run on style without punctuation. A few years ago I tried to read the book and just found it¿s lack of punctuation to difficult to keep up with. I¿m not a patient enough reader to take on the reading text written in this fashion. I put the book down in frustration. Then recently I discovered, in the Library, a fully unabridged audio version on CDs. I listened to the first 200 pages on a recent round trip drive to Las Vegas. The reader, Gianfranco Negroponte does a marvelous job of reading, inserting the commas; the dialog comes alive with his performance, as does Ned Kelley¿s voice. The reading has the feel your sitting around the campfire hearing a tall tale told by the practitioner. I finished listening to the tapes while following along with the book's text and some sections I just read without the audio. But it was the audio translation I am reviewing here and recommending to you. A marvelous way to enjoy what I found to be an awkward book to read. The recording also has an interesting hour-long interview with Peter Carey on the last CD, well worth a listen as he explains why he structured the book the way he did, and how much of the story he fictionalized (quite a bit actually).
MilanoWL More than 1 year ago
Peter Carey will win a pulitzer in the next 10 years. The man can weave a tale and his character development and understanding of humanity is almost hemingwayesque.
SSnugglebunny More than 1 year ago
Ned Kelly starts off as any one would think a kid would. Young, reckless, and free to do what he wishes in life. In the beginning, he tells you what is happening, but he is speaking to his daughter. Each letter held a part of his life and how it was hard for him and his family to live. It seems in the story, troubled and Ned go together just like a puzzle. He tries to be like a man, even after his father¿s death. With each letter, you travel deeper into his mind and life, until the end.

I was rather pleased with this story. It kept me on my guard when you would not think possible. You never knew if he was lying, even if he said he would not lie in the beginning of the novel. I had a little troubled reading the story, for Ned has ¿troubled¿ with his grammar. The word year was shortened to yr. and other words seemed to form to his speak he spoke. I do recommended this book to other that enjoy a blast from the past and maybe you might find some dirt on the bottom of your shoes from the story its self, for that¿s how far into the book I felt.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had never heard of Ned Kelly before Peter Carey's book. But, from the very first line, Ned Kelly comes vividly to life. And, though it seems so far removed from the comfort most of us have today, it's fascinating and real. What he's striving for, acceptance, a better life, love, family ties, something to leave behind after, are all universal. His language, especially, is so entertaining, I would recommend this book just on that. I loved it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a long-time student of Ned Kelly as historical personage, it was with great trepidation that I read this book; knowing how historical novels hardly ever grasp the 'meaning' of a person or an event. All to often they seem to add invented dialouge to a well-known story and HOPE to capitalize on the actual story to carry the book thru. Here we have what a historical novel SHOULD be. As Kelly appeared thru the morning mist that June day in 1880 to battle the police, so he has risen up again and again to lumber thru the consciousness of whoever has the good fortune to stumble onto his tale, for, right or wrong, he's IS a powerful tale. But it is the concept behind this novel that really struck me as unique. Here was Kelly the son, the man, the lover, and the outlaw, and yet the 'meaning' comes down to Kelly the father. And it is here that, as a divocred father seperated from MY kids, the real power and tragedy of Carey's novel strikes home: the desire of people, regardless of gender or social status and standing, to have our voices heard and our tale told. Here, for once, in this wonderfully imagined way, IS (to use a cliche) 'The man behind the myth.' What is so wonderful is that Kelly has survived as a historical character, and he has appeared as subject for fine art (The Nolan paintings), as cinematic subject matter numerous times, and, now, as a subject that has long deserved and finally received his worthy status as subject fit for fine literature. Bravo to Peter Carey for slipping into Kelly's armor
harstan More than 1 year ago
Though over a century has passed since the Australian authorities hanged him, Ned Kelly retains a mythical hold on the minds of individuals who romanticize a criminal with an honorable moral fiber. In 1879-1880, Kelly and his cohorts elude the police for about twenty months, desperately doing daring deeds that capture the soul of a nation. Yet in the end he fails to achieve his goal of winning the approval of his mother, but Ellen betrayed her family and Ned whenever it was convenient.

This is an exciting biographical fiction that brings to life a country and its people in the late nineteenth century. Although one-sided by turning Kelly into a glamorous heroic victim of society and his family, he retains all the allure that makes him an epic hero. The story line is well written and grips the reader from start to finish with the action adventure of a Zane Gray western tale. Award winning Peter Carey shows why he is one of the best authors with this uncanny novel that brings forth a legendary man.

Harriet Klausner

CR-Buell More than 1 year ago
Here is the story of Ned Kelly, as told in his own words. Or at least that is the novel's conceit. In True History of the Kelly Gang Peter Carey channels Australia's most famous outlaw, relating his tale in powerfully rich, though semi-literate prose. Anyone who's familiar with Ned Kelly's legend (don't worry, you don't need to know anything about Ned Kelly to enjoy the novel) will expect this book to be largely about the so-called Kelly Outbreak, but that is not the case. In fact we don't reach the Kelly Outbreak until about 2/3 of the way through the novel. Instead we are treated mostly to Kelly's early years, his family's struggles to eke out an existence, and all the injustices which would make Kelly the man he later became. Toward the end of the book a character asks if Australians have no one better to look up to than a horse thief. Accurate account or not this novel vividly describes why we tend to romanticize murderers and thieves like Ned Kelly or Billy the Kid; why even in their own time outlaws like these were seen by many of the common people as heroes rather than villains. Whatever their motivations for doing so they stood up against the agents of injustice; the police and magistrates who applied the law however they saw fit, the rich landowners and bankers who took whatever they wanted without fear of reprisal. All Ned Kelly ever wanted was for his voice to be heard, but no one was willing to listen. I've seen some complaints about the prose in this book, and that baffles me a bit. As I said earlier this novel is written in Kelly's own voice, complete with all the run on sentences and errors in grammar you might expect from an uneducated man in the late 19th century. While I admit that the prose takes some getting used to (after 5 or 6 pages you should have little problem with it), it's really the prose which elevates this novel to something more than just another retelling of the Kelly legend.
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