Beautifully crafted historical novel. And I don't really like historical novels.
In his book "True history of the Kelly gang", Peter Carey goes back to the roots of Australian founding myths, exploring the violent roots if its national origins. The book tells the history of the Kelly gang (which should partially be true, and documented), reconstructing the social tensions which brought its founder to become an outlaw. The main hero is an ambivalent figure, since the features leading him to break laws are the ones normally characterizing positive heroes, such as uninterested heroism and generosity. The novel uses all the main techniques of metafictional historical novel, such as the simulated use of 'historical sources' - such as the diary of the writer. Due to this meta-narrative stance, the book is also a powerful statement on the importance of "writing", as a mean to preserve history of the defeated ones. Coherently to this narrative choice, Carey adopts a non-naturalistic, but extremely convincing language, mimicking of the Australian dialect spoken by an half-literated, uneducated man of half 19th century. The style is close to oral language and conveys a strong feeling of immediacy, while also questioning the repressive status of artificial, written and National language. "True history of Kelly gang" is thus a "political" novel at the deepest: not because of its statement, nor because of the author's views, but because it deeply questions the literary canon, speaking out for a specific position of "post-colonial" Australia within the English-speaking literature....Continua
In spite of the lack of punctuation and quirky style, this was such an engaging read! Ned Kelly is truly an enigmatic character and this book is great as it's almost as if Kelly himself wrote it himself.
Now go read this adjectival book, you b----rs. ;)...Continua
Always a fan of Peter Carey. This isn't his greatest work, but it is quite an accomplishment, evoking the early days of law and (dis)order in the early days of the outback.