Category Archives: Peter Carey

Book Review: True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey

True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey Title: True History of the Kelly Gang
Author: Peter Carey
Publisher: Faber and Faber
ISBN: 9780571302017
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 432
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4/5

The second book in the “The Novel Cure” reading challenge happened to be True History of the Kelly Gang and I took it upon myself to finish reading this one. It was a tough read for sure however I loved it in most parts and therefore could also be done with it. It took some time unlike other books, however having said that, it was quite a rollercoaster of a read.

In “The Novel Cure”, the book is recommended to cure the disease of being accused and it does that to a very large extent. The book is but obviously about the very famously infamous Kelly Gang and their bush-ranging activities, which made them outlaws and ultimately lead to their deaths. It is about how Ned Kelly became an outlaw and a bush-ranger even if he didn’t want to, and it is surprising how his mother pushed him into becoming one under the apprentice of Harry Power (the mother though makes for a very formidable character in the book).

The book’s narrative is a little off – in the sense that the styles keep changing. However, once you get the drift and get used to it, you actually enjoy Carey’s writing. The story is written in parcels – that Ned wrote on scraps of paper for his baby daughter to read, when she grows up, as he will not be around to tell her the story of his life.
There is no high ground in the book. There is no justification for what Ned does besides the love for his family – which is more than enough most of the time and yet there might be some readers who would judge him and his actions, which of course I do not think is the right way to look at this book.

For me, the writing was a little slow at the beginning, however it picked up pace and I liked the book a lot. Some of it was also heard through an audio book, but that definitely counts. Some scenes are graphic if you have the stomach for them. I can also imagine why this book won the Booker. The language and structure are definitely in place. All in all, a very satisfying read. Definitely helps you cure the feeling of guilt and accusation.

Next Up: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (for Adolescence)