– True history of the Kelly gang –

I have not always been a fan of Peter Carey’s novels. When I saw this book had won the 2001 Man Booker Prize I was not amused. And writing a novel about Ned Kelly seemed to be a cultural cliché. Done to death, you might say with a smile. Even Mick Jagger portrayed Ned Kelly in a movie back in the 60’s. But from the first paragraph of the novel, I was surprised and delighted at the innovative prose — written in the style of Ned Kelly’s Jerilderie Letter. The first thing you notice is: no commas, then no quotation marks, very little punctuation, yet it reads smoothly, concisely, comprehensibly; all done with an Irish accent. Ned Kelly is probably the most well-known person to have lived in Australia; most people think of him as a folk hero, while others see him as a murdering bushranger. His story is simple enough. He was born in Victoria in 1855, his father an ex-convict, and both parents Irish. The Kelly family were in constant trouble with the police, particularly for horse and cattle stealing. They made enemies with the local police, who then took every opportunity to harass and arrest them, including… Continue reading