True History of the Kelly Gang Author:Peter Carey “I lost my own father at 12 yr. of age and know what it is to be 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 will contain no single lie may I burn in Hell if I speak false.” — In True History of the Kelly Gang, the legendary Ned Kel... more »ly 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 horse thief (who was also her lover), Ned saw his first prison cell at 15 and by the age of 26 had become the most wanted man in the wild colony of Victoria, taking over whole towns and defying the law until he was finally captured and hanged. Here is a classic outlaw tale, made alive by the skill of a great novelist.
This book is fascinating as written as the discovered "first hand account" of Ned Kelly. The author has filled the pages with all the flavor, pain, sorrow, confusion and simple daily delights of a back woods boy who grew to become the leader of the infamous Kelly Gang. The words fairly drip with sweat as the dread Ned Kelly goes from a hard working son to a bonded out side kick of the local Robin Hood. Life is never the same, but perhaps for the Kelly's it never was meant to be.
How I wish these were the words from the man himself, but these words certainly capture all the drama and joys that are so foreign to our current world.
the colloquial and "uneducated" style in which the book is written is disconcerting at the beginning but once you fall under the sway of the story it becomes much less noticeable except as a reminder and reinforcer of the time/place/situation.
i enjoyed it very much and would go out of my way to read other novels by peter carey on the basis of this experience.