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Australia > Discussion on July Book Starts Here!

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message 1: by Laureen (new)

Laureen (goodreadscomliterateworld) | 82 comments Mod
Hi, Group,
Here's the new folder for the discussion on True History of the Kelly Gang


message 2: by Chris (new)

Chris Fletcher | 124 comments Mod
As I've never read a fictional biography of a real person before (are they common??), I'm not sure whether to find out a bit about the real history of Ned Kelly first.

Do you think this will ruin the plot or add to the book? My existing knowledge of Ned Kelly is virtually nil...


message 3: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 179 comments Mod
Haven't started our July read yet but have ordered from the library.One of the best books I read in recent years was Arthur and George by Julian Barnes, a fictionalized account of the life of Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes. I always enjoy Julian Barnes but found this one particularly fascinating given that Doyle was far more than an author! Mystics and weird religious beliefs, husband and more! Driven and eccentric. However, I am not suppose to be reviewing another book here. Just thought I'd pass this on as a recommendation.Arthur & George


message 4: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 179 comments Mod
Finally the book arrived through our provincial inter library loan system.

I've read the first chapter and have started the second. I am having a hard time believing that this work of fiction is based on the diaries of a a man who grew up in the outback of colonial Australia in harsh and impoverished conditions. Incredible that he not only learned how to write given his childhood circumstances - a demoralized and broken father, many siblings, rural poverty, prejudice against irish catholics, maternal relatives in conflict with the law - but also survives to tell his story.

Looking forward to chapter two. In regards to Chris' comments I keep looking at the acknowledgements, in particular the works that the book is based on, but will pass on those until I finish this fictionalized account.

I am learning a bit about the settlers of Australia. Much different than Canada I have to say although there was a great deal of poverty here too amongst rural residents.


message 5: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 179 comments Mod
Took a look at the Wikipedia entry on Ted Kelly. He didn't write his memoir from which this fictionalized account is written but rather dictated it to another member of the Kelly Gang, Bryne. The memoir was found about 1930. Events in the book took place in the mid 1800s.


message 6: by Chris (new)

Chris Fletcher | 124 comments Mod
I was really looking forwards to reading this, largely because it was supposed to be written in nineteenth-century Australian vernacular. The only other books I've read who use this vernacular technique are Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh and A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. Both brilliant, in my opinion, in a large part because of the language.

So was anybody else a bit disapoointed with the language in this book? Not that I have any way of telling, but I didn't feel that it was authentic. More like Peter Carey had heard a few common phrases used back then, and threw them into his book. The use of the word 'adjectival', particularly, really irked me because I couldn't imagine Ned Kelly using it at all. ('Effing' worked slightly better I think).

Not that I disliked the book, I just thought that I would be immersed in the language a bit more/better.

Elizabeth ... I saw Arthur & George in a bookshop the other day after you mentioned it. I almost bought it purely because of the coincidence!


message 7: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 179 comments Mod
Finished True History of the Kelly Gang, finally, the last word expressing my feeling about it. It was interesting but I didn't think it was one of the best books we've read in our club. I learned some Australian history but its not a book I would enthusiastically recommend to others because I just didn't find it that interesting and it was too long.


message 8: by Chris (new)

Chris Fletcher | 124 comments Mod
What a strange feeling it is to look at (and inside!) the bones of somebody who we've read about!


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