Alexis Wright employs mysticism, stark reality, and pointed imagination to re-create the land and the Aboriginal people of Carpentaria.
In the sparsely populated northern Queensland town of Desperance ...more
Alexis Wright works directly with oral tradition, with folktale and myth, to interpose her narrative with as much authenticity as possible; she brings tribal legends into the modern space, asserting how important such things are to the remaining members of the civilisations that were almost de ...more
The Gulf country is also the homeland of the Waanyi people, from whom Alexis Wright is descended on h ...more
Seriously, it’s huge. When I think of authors whose books can barely contain the hugeness of what is inside them, I think of Dostoyevsky, Mishima and Ihimaera. And now we in Australia have the precious gift of Alexis Wright.
This is it. Forget about Baz Luhrmann. “Carpentaria” is the Great Australian Novel; the epic of our time. It isn’t a small book, or an easy read. You can’t get through it, for example, while ...more
On its face, Carpentaria is the story of a town, Desperance, on the Gulf of Carpentaria, giving the reader an insight into tensions within the Aboriginal communities on the outskirts of the town and between them and the white people who live in the town itself. Underneath that, and far more importantly, it is a story about family, Country and Cultu ...more
In the largest terms, this is a book about the Aboriginal spirits of Australia being mightier than the work ...more
"One evening in the driest grasses in the world, a child who was no stranger to her people, asked if anyone could find hope. The people of parable and prophecy pondered what was hopeless and finally declared they no longer knew what hope was. The clocks, tick-a-ty tock, looked as though they might run out of time. Luckily, the ghosts in the memories of the old folk were listening, and said anyone can find hope in the stories: the big stories and the little ones in between."
Carpentaria is a stunn ...more
I will say that I almost switched books after I wasn't really "grabbed" in the first two hundred or so pages. I would find my mind wandering while reading, and when I came back I would discover myself in a scene which was either a flashback, a fever dream, a legend, or an actual current event - it was hard to recognize which if you weren't ...more
It is hard to tell how much of that is that I simply enjoyed the much faster pace, clear stakes and emotional punchiness of the second half, and how much it is that Wright's style ta ...more
Aboriginal Australians -- Fiction.
Indigenous peoples -- Queensland -- Fiction.
Race relations -- Fiction.
Eccentrics and eccentricities -- Fiction.
Mines and mineral resources -- Fiction.
Carpentaria is kind of One Hundred Years of Solitude for people who hated One Hundred Years of Solitude (so: me, I hated it, come at me). I mean, people who like Marquez will also probably like this book, although it's not totally boring so maybe they won't. (Sorry, sorry. ...more
To start with, this book took me nearly two weeks to read, which is about four times longer than I expect to spend on a book. So the thing is not a page turner. In many places it has almost dream like, hypnotic flavour. So many times I found myself paging back to try and work out if what I was reading was straightforward narrative, someone's imaginings, a dream perhaps? In as far as this is indicative of a problem, I think the problem was largely with me, habituated as I am to significantly ...more
Carpentaria is an impossible book. It is so packed with real people and large ideas and beautiful images, it is so full and so original, it is hard to think of what to compare it to. It is a very dense book.
Wright draws together many strands of mythology. There are Dreamings, and family histories, and politics, Christianity and classical music woven throughout. She telescopes time. The book seems to take place in an eternal present, where everything is simultaneous, and it can take a bit of gett...more
It's such an obstinately opaque book, so stuffed of multiple levels of story, that it can't easily be picked up and put down for the length of a quick lunch or a short commute. The Aboriginal characters are at ease with the dead and the living and the spirits co-existing. They're at ease with sailing out on a small boat to find a particular patch of water they've never been to, because they memorised a story as told to them by an elder. The white Australians in ...more
This is a quantum-entangled, remote-viewing/magically realist world where the land is a character of its own. For some people its non-westernness may be too much, and for others it might be what keeps you reading.
What I love most is how this book left me feeling at the end, when after spending all this time trying to form what I'm reading into a ...more
The biggest turn-off for me was the characters and their relationships. I don't mind not liking characters, as long as it's fun and rewarding to hate them. These characters were just...nothing. I spent 500 pages with them but I still feel like I don't know them at all. And the ...more
Alexis has published award-winning short stories a ...more