Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2001
Ned Kelly's name resonates in Australia the same way the name Jesse James does in America. Was he a crusading folk hero or murderous horse thief and bank robber? Who was the real Ned Kelly? As the impoverished son of an Irish convict, Kelly was cheated, lied to, and abused by the English. Committed to fighting back against oppression, Kelly and his gang of outlaws eluded police for nearly two years. Brilliantly novelized by Peter Carey, the story of the Kelly Gang unfolds from a series of 13 compassionate letters written, while on the run, by Kelly to his infant daughter. Building from this historical legend and testing our sympathies, Carey crafts a deeply humanistic piece of historical fiction, a tale of injustice and violence.
©2000 Peter Carey (P)2001 Recorded Books
"No reader will be left unmoved by this dramatic tale....A novel that teems with energy, suspense and the true story of a memorable protagonist." (Publishers Weekly)
"Historical fiction doesn't get much better than this." (School Library Journal)
"Packed with incident, alive with comedy and pathos...contains pretty much everything you could ask of a novel." (The New York Times Book Review)
Much of the narrative is painful to hear. However, since this is the "true" story it did occur. It got a little much and I'm not one to demand sweetness from all books. It does give insight as to how a society can create criminals.
I found this reading very hard to follow. The narrator uses an authentic Australian accent, so unless I was concentrating very hard, I often had trouble understanding what just happened in the story. The primary plot line is easy to follow, but the subtleties and nuance of a book should be what distinguish it, and those were hard to discern in this audio book.
In reading other listeners reviews, clearly many people loved it. Maybe the accent didn't bother them. I know that in Simon Vance's reading of Oliver Twist, the accent worked towards enhancing the book. Here, I found the dialect distracting.
I knew nothing of Ned Kelly; but this book caused me to read more about Ned, and conditions in Australia for the Irish.
This is not like any outlaw story I've ever read. It is told from Ned's own lips and a short way in you've forgotten there's a narrator or an author. These are Ned Kelly's own writings, damn it, and told in his own voice.
The story is engaging, taut and utterly authentic. It is peopled with a humanity that oozes with veracity. The good and the bad are hardly imagined in this tale. There is the living and the loves, the family, the life under someone's thumb. And through it all, I felt like I was there and found myself sneering once or twice, 'adjectively.'
Not sure. It's a powerful story and I'm going to remember it forever.
There were so many. Probably when he starts to write his own story inside the story. He was an idealist born in a terrible environment.
I don't know.
Yes. When it became clear that the Parliament member would never pay attention to him -- his righteous cause would be neglected. All he wanted to do was work a farm while he was pushed and shoved by his family, the police, and the corrupt system to become an outlaw.
Loved it. It's inspired me to see where he lived in Australia. Good excuse to visit that country again and see where one of it's great heroes lived and died.
I "read" this for my book group--- would not have thought to read it otherwise-- and that's what good book groups are good for! This was a fascinating story, nicely rendered. I did actually read part of it, and found I was very glad for the audio version, as the story is written in the Australian dialect of its time period. Kind of hard to read, visually. But easy to hear. The characters and story are engaging... FYI, this is historical fiction. So it's based on real people and situations, and thoroughly researched, but is still fiction.
I felt like I learned a lot and enjoyed the ride.
Language is beautiful. Story is fabulous. Perfomance by the reader is wonderful. I couldn't wait to get to my car for my daily commute to listen to this masterpiece. LOVED it. On a par with the Killer Angels as an historical novel.
Ned Kelly. Principalled (for a killer) and tough. The character is beautifully written with depth and complexity. I really cared about him. One of the most memorable characters I've ever encountered in literature.
No. But he was super.
Everytime the author reminded by that Ned was speaking to his daughter as he told the story.
unbearable, unrelenting sordid scenes--one after another--until I felt bludgeoned. Mothers sleeping with wives' boyfriends, murder, torture, dirt, squalor, flies, blood, death--it just never stopped. Someone told me that as a Dickens reader, I'd like this book and I cannot imagine anything as remote from Dickens as Peter Carey's "True History of the Kelly Gang"
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