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November 10, 2017


True History of the Kelly Gang

by N@ncy



  1. The book opens during the
  2. …famous shoot-out between Ned Kelly and the law
  3. that finally ended his years on the run.
  4. Told in first-person, from Kelly’s perspective,
  5. …the fictional work draws from historical accounts
  6. of the gang’s movements across the Australian bush.



  1. The story is one long letter to Ned Kelly’s unborn daughter.
  2. Instead of  a sequence of dated letters
  3. …Carey has divided the book into 13 parcels of manuscripts.
  4. Ned tells his story in his own distinctive style.
  5. There is little in the way of punctuation or grammar:
  6. “I said I were”… “effing,  eff, “
  7. Weak point: It took time to get used to reading this!
  8. The language shows Ned’s lack of education and his Irish heritage.
  9. The narrative is fragmented jumping from one episode to another:
  10. highway robbery, horse theft, slaughter calf,
  11. ….buying dresses for  sweetheart  Mary Hearn.
  12. Strong point: Carey recreates the gritty realism of Australia.
  13. He fictionalizes the  legendary,  traditional story that concerns
  14. …the infamous bushranger  Ned Kelly.
  15. A fun read for anyone who enjoys a lovable outlaw,
  16. …..or wants to learn more about Australia’s “Robin Hood.”
Read more from #AusReadingMonth
6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nov 11 2017

    I read it a few years ago but really liked it. Off the back of it I read more of Carey’s books and loved ‘Parrot and Olivier In America’.


    • Nov 11 2017

      I really had to get used to the vernacular…..then my reading speeded up.
      Australia had some quirky ‘outlaws’ !


  2. Nov 18 2017

    I read this a long time ago now but I do remember that it took a while to get into the vernacular, even for a born and bred Aussie! It had a real boys own adventure feel to it.


    • Nov 19 2017

      i read it but was not WOW-ed by it.
      This is my first Peter Carey book….is there a better one?


      • Nov 19 2017

        I struggle with Carey, but certain scenes from Oscar & Lucinda are still with me nearly 30 yrs later!

        Liked by 1 person

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