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True History of the Kelly Gang
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True History of the Kelly Gang

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  15,762 Ratings  ·  830 Reviews
(Peter Carey gives Ned Kelly a voice so wild, passionate and original that it is impossible not to believe that the famous bushranger himself is speaking from beyond the grave I lost my own father at 12 yrs. of age and know what it is to he raised on lies and silences my dear daughter you are presently too young to understand a word I write but this history is for you and ...more
Hardcover, 350 pages
Published January 8th 2001 by Faber & Faber (first published 2000)
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(showing 1-30)
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Whitney Atkinson
lmao i definitely didn't read the last 100 pages of this
William1
This book is a wonder. It's interesting that it can be so effective when its artifice is so apparent. No one really writes like this. No one really uses this bizarre amalgam of heightened vocabulary, slang, and understatement; just to read a few pages is proof enough of that. The technique is mostly a kind of enjambed, run-on sentence style with colorful Australian argot. Yet one is completely mesmerized by the book. It's pleasures as a narrative are rich and unrelenting. My heart pounds and a s ...more
Paul Bryant
Well here I am being a bad person again, I try to be good and I really do like to like things but you all are probably by now getting the strong idea that really I like to dislike things, such as Booker Prize winners and movies with Scarlet Johanssssssen in them. They call me Mr Grumpy, baby, cause baby, that’s my name. No, Otis Redding did not sing that song, I did. Well I did not make it even to the middle of this Kelly Gang saga and the reasons are disturbing – for me, that is, not for you.

Pe
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Bettie☯
Description: In True History of the Kelly Gang," " the legendary Ned Kelly speaks for himself, scribbling his narrative on errant scraps of paper in semiliterate but magically descriptive prose as he flees from the police. To his pursuers, Kelly is nothing but a monstrous criminal, a thief and a murderer. To his own people, the lowly class of ordinary Australians, the bushranger is a hero, defying the authority of the English to direct their lives. Indentured by his bootlegger mother to a famous ...more
Sarah
Jun 10, 2007 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If, like me, you don't know anything about Ned Kelly when you start this book, don't be scared off by the first two pages with the killer robot. That will all become clear later. Really, between the cover design, the killer robot, and the difficult style, I thought I was going to hate this book. Halfway through it, I realized I was totally in love with it. It was this paragraph that really did it for me:

We thought you doomed and rooned the minute you walked out past the chook house and Wild deli
...more
Maciek
This novel won Peter Carey the Booker Prize in 2001, snubbingAtonement, number9dream, Oxygen and Hotel World. He remains one of only three Australian authors to have won the award (the other two being Thomas Keneally andD.B.C. Pierre) and the only Australian author to win the Booker twice - first time in 1988 for his historical novel Oscar and Lucinda. He shares the honor with J.M. Coetzee, J.G. Farrell and Hilary Mantel.

I had little knowledge about Ned Kelly before reading this novel, except fo
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Chana
I fell in love with the voice of Ned Kelly. I can't make judgement on Ned Kelly, but I loved the character as told over to us by Peter Carey. I was simply quite taken. When I first started the book I felt that a little punctuation wouldn't be amiss but as the story continued I started to think in that voice, to hear it in my head and roll the sounds of it around in my mouth. This is the line where I realized that I loved this book, "He were as lazy as the dog that rests its head against the wall ...more
Michael Finocchiaro
This fascinating novel from Man Booker prize winner Peter Carey explores the story of the deadly Kelly Gang from the perspective of one of the Kellys. The Kelly gang has an interesting role in Australian history as a band of renegades that were treated like shit by society and forced (or not depending on how you view it) to take to a life of brigandry to survive. They were brutally hunted down by the Aussie government but the hunt took years and cost many lives. The book is exciting and very wel ...more
Erwin
This is an 'adjectival' original piece of historical fiction. Carey did a fine job recreating Ned Kelly's voice. A piece of 19th century Australian history come to life through the masterly invented voice of Australia's most famous bushranger.
Andrea
Nov 05, 2012 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Andrea by: Ben Thurley
Shelves: fiction
Talk about total immersion!

Reading this was like being dunked and held under in the inhospitable waters of hardtack bush life in the 19th century, and no, Carey is not letting you up for air! The language and style -a torrential outpouring of unpunctuated vernacular- does take some getting used to, and can be potentially confusing at first (and even later)but I think it's part of what gives this novel such a strong faculty for transporting the reader to another time and place. (I were there with
...more
Christy
Aug 11, 2008 Christy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Written in the words of the infamous bushranger and outlaw Ned Kelly – Australia’s Jesse James/ Robin Hood – the True History of the Kelly Gang is a novel which accounts Kelly’s life from impoverished childhood to inevitable capture and execution. Kelly’s story centers on the unfairness and corruption of the nineteenth century Australian legal system, and the discriminations against the poor and the Irish (of which Kelly was both). Through it all, Ned Kelly’s motivations are for justice, family ...more
Carolyn
In an interview with the Guardian newspaper in 2001, Peter Carey stated that the idea for writing a history of Ned Kelly started when he read the so-called Jerilderie Letter in a museum in the 1960s. This 8,000 word, 56-page letter was dictated to fellow gang member Joe Byrne by Ned following the robbery of the Jerilderie bank in 1879. In it Ned explains why he has been driven to lead a life as a bushranger following persecution of his family by a corrupt police force and victimisation of poor ...more
Darryl Mexic
The book aint no adjectival ordinary good read it were an Australian bush tale about ole Ned Kelly a real life legendary criminal and hero and how he were forced to become a bushranger by the effing corrupt police and judges and them fellers what owned everything and bent the law to their favor. Ole Ned wrote his story in letter form to his unborn daughter being carried in the belly of his beloved whore Mary Hearn he seen his family treated poorly and himself put in gaol for no good reason. It’s ...more
Leif Erik
Jan 30, 2008 Leif Erik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booker, aussie-lit
This is written as an memoir (difference between an autobiography & a memoir; memoirs don't have indexes) Ned Kelly is setting down for an infant daughter he will never see. Kind of poignant actually. Carey wrote this in a nineteenth century Australian vernacular. Kind of like Trainspotting. Not for everyone. Normally I'd find it annoying and pretentious, but Carey makes it work. That alone probably merits his Booker. The story by itself is amazing. Even in his own words Kelly clearly is no ...more
Tony
Dec 28, 2010 Tony rated it it was amazing
Peter Carey is an adjectival genius. You coves, when you tell your history to your daughters, tell it true as Ned Kelly did. History has some rough spots. Mates and traitors. For me, the best parts of True History of the Kelly Gang, in no particular order, were: the complex relationship of Kelly and his Ma; the blossoming character of Mary Hearn; and the story of how Whitty got his land with the help of the Devil. There is, it turns out, only one wish the Devil can not grant.
Casey (Myshkin) Buell
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 ...more
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Once I acclimated to the sentence structure, the poor grammar, the lack of punctuation, I rather enjoyed the book. The author did research the subject, so that's a plus, you never know what you might get with historical fiction nowadays. I remember several years back watching the movie with Heath Ledger. Pretty similar book more detailed of course. If a fan of Australia, outlaws, Rebels I'd suggest this book
Alastair
Feb 17, 2017 Alastair rated it liked it
I have no idea why it took me so long to read this book. I seemed to plod through the pages at a glacial pace, maybe this was due to a busy period and only having time to read in bed or it could be due to a difficulty in getting into it as once I was into the book I seemed to move along at a good pace.
I still enjoyed it immensely and the lack of punctuation and grammar etc that seems to have put others off didn't bother me. It was good to get a glimpse into the Australia of the late 19th centur
...more
Mag
Dec 20, 2009 Mag rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australia
I like anything Carey. Nothing is going to beat Oscar and Lucinda in my heart, but this one is not bad either. The style is so adjectivally good!

Poignant and entertaining, it’s a story of a bushman and an Australian folk hero, Ned Kelly, told in his own voice in a form of a long lost memoir. Carey apparently came up with Kelly’s unique voice after coming across a real letter Kelly wrote to the authorities explaining why he was innocent of the crimes ascribed to him. It had its own singular gramm
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Lynda
Ned Kelly was executed in Melbourne jail on 11 November 1880. His last words are supposed to have been ‘Ah well, I suppose it has come to this.’

Carey’s novel reclaims Kelly from myth to reconstruct him as a man by telling the story of his brief life in the outlaw’s own voice.

Thanks to Carey's extraordinary skill, the emotional power of this individual's story is made real, which made the book even more enjoyable.
Angus McKeogh
I suppose since this book had won the Booker I was primed for one of the best books I've ever read. And it was good. But not one of the best books I've ever read. Just above average. I actually liked Carey's, My Life as a Fake, better. And, Wrong about Japan, just as much.
Darwin8u
Jul 29, 2011 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, aere-perennius
I 'effing' love Peter Carey's prose. An 'adjectival' masterpiece of historical fiction and myth-making.
Emily
Feb 09, 2009 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ever since my high school boyfriend outed me to my youthful music idol as a slavering fangirl, I resolved to be moderate in my attitudes towards artists whose work I admire. Not that I want to downplay my enjoyment of their art, or affect a "too cool for enthusiasm" attitude. But I realized that day at the indie-rock festival how wrong it was that I was uncomfortable speaking face-to-face with this personable, modest woman, all because I had elevated her onto an unreasonable pedestal. I was unab ...more
Kristian Olesen
Jul 05, 2013 Kristian Olesen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ned Kelly has been a lifelong obsession of mine, ever since I found an illustrated version of the Kelly Gang's story in my Year 1 classroom's modest library. For a kid who used to watch Sunday afternoon westerns on TV (while acting them out), this was the greatest discovery - a relatable, homegrown tale, and a good tale at that. It wasn't until years later that I realised that there were people who disdained Kelly and his mates as much as I revered them, but before becoming aware of Australian i ...more
Visha
Jan 26, 2009 Visha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sarah Messer
This is the second book I have read from Australian author Peter Carey. He is only the second writer to have won the prestigious Booker Prize twice (the first is another favorite writer of mine, JM Coetzee of South Africa). Carey won his Bookers for this book and for Oscar and Lucinda, the first of his books I've read.

What distinguishes each book is the unique voice and writing style Carey uses for each story. While the language of Oscar and Lucinda is sumptuous - almost to the point of being
...more
João Carlos

Última fotografia de Ned Kelly - tirada por Charles Nettleton (10 Novembro 1880)

“A Verdadeira História do Bando de Ned Kelly” é um romance do escritor australiano Peter Carey (n. 1943) que foi laureado com o Man Booker Prize for Fiction em 2001.
O Man Booker Prize for Fiction é um dos prémios literários que mais valorizo; quase sempre são premiados livros no género romance ou no género romance histórico, e que têm contribuído, definitivamente, para algumas das minhas melhores leituras.
Peter Care
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Ben Thurley
Nov 04, 2012 Ben Thurley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Carey's Booker award-winning novel is an earthy, captivating recitation of the legend of Australia's most famous bushranger (outlaw), Ned Kelly. In a masterstroke of literary ventriloquism, the novel is narrated in Kelly's blunt, inelegant voice and a kind of profane and ragged poetry flows from the page.

The novel opens with an account of the famous shoot-out near Glenrowan where Ned Kelly – in his cast-iron armour and helmet – was finally captured, shot in the legs by police. It then tells his
...more
Kamil
First of all, let me say that Peter Carey is a splendid writer and a great stylist.
The rhythm and melody of the language is what sets this novel apart, and make the story come alive. It makes it more folkish, colloquial alive. The writing reminds me a bit of Cormac McCarthy, strict, colourless, but very often poetic.
Carey stylised the novel on “Jerilderie Letter” the only document we know that was written by Kelly, one year before he was executed. In the letter, he tries to explain, justify his
...more
Garry
Oct 30, 2010 Garry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of those novels that I was dreading reading. I did so only because I'm doing the Booker Prize winners, and this was a necessary evil before getting to The Life of Pi.

I knew (or thought I knew!) the story beforehand, and my quick flick when I bought the book a few months ago revealed a style of writing that I thought was going to become very tiresome. How wrong was I!

This was a fantastic book. The writing wasn't hard going at all, which on reflection is kind of surprising given the e
...more
Linda
Admittedly, audio books are not my preferred way to "read", but they serve a useful purpose on long car trips, which was the case here.
This story, set in Australia and lauded by many reviewers, tells the tale of folk hero Ned Kelly, a Billy the Kid type of outlaw, through a series of letters he left behind for his daughter after his execution at age 25. He was a real person, not a fictional character, although the author apparently created/imagined most of his life story for this book.
Ned's cha
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Peter Carey was born in Australia in 1943.

He was educated at the local state school until the age of eleven and then became a boarder at Geelong Grammar School. He was a student there between 1954 and 1960 — after Rupert Murdoch had graduated and before Prince Charles arriv
...more
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“If you know the country he said then you will be a wild colonial boy forever” 3 likes
“Your grandfather were a quiet and secret man he had been ripped from his home in Tipperary and transported to the prisons of Van Diemen's Land I do not know what was done to him he never spoke of it. When they had finished with their tortures they set him free and he crossed the sea to the colony of Victoria. He were by this time 30 yr. of age red headed and freckled with his eyes always slitted against the sun. My da had sworn an oath to evermore avoid the attentions of the law so when he saw the streets of Melbourne was crawling with policemen worse than flies he walked 28 mi. to the township of Donnybrook and then or soon thereafter he seen my mother. Ellen Quinn were 18 yr. old she were dark haired and slender the prettiest figure on a horse he ever saw but your grandma was like a snare laid out by God for Red Kelly. She were a Quinn and the police would never leave the Quinns alone.” 3 likes
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