15. True History of the Kelly Gang

True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey

Pages: 368
Finished: Jan. 27, 2008
Reason for Reading: Booker challenge, book awards challenge, chosen for me in the GRTB game on LibraryThing.
First Published: 2000
Genre: historical fiction
Award: Booker Prize
Rating: 4.5/5

First Sentence:

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.

Comments: The life story of Ned Kelly, Australian Bushranger and Outlaw, as told through his fictional diaries. Wow, this was an amazing book. From page two I was hooked on the story and the life of this man. I found myself absolutely intrigued by him and since I started the book I have been reading about him online as well. Since the story is told through Ned's point of view we come to feel for him and root* for him, perhaps as the Australian people themselves did at the time. This was a wonderful book, you really can't ask for more in a novel.

The one negative comment I have is about the lack of punctuation. I don't feel it added any authenticity to the story at all but instead showed the author's own arrogance. The lack of sentence structure made this a very slow read. My reading speed decreased dramatically. I would often have to read a 'sentence' 2 or three times to understand and this particularly happened when people were speaking as the lack of quotations in the book leaves the reader unsure of who is speaking at many times. However, this should not be a deterrent to reading the book. As I read the last page I closed the book and spoke aloud to the empty room, "Wow, that was good." This book will be certainly be a contender for my best book of the year.

*Well, well, it turns out root has a totally different meaning in Australia (see comments). Let's just say the Australians cheered for him and leave it at that.


  1. Wow...you have piqued my interest, Nicola! I toyed with the idea of reading this when I was making up challenge lists, but it didn't make it. I just may have to reconsider. Thanks!

  2. I think I would like to read this book. I don't know all that much about Ned Kelly (just what I've seen in movies!)

  3. This book has piqued my interest after reading fellow bloggers' reviewers - like yours! But at the rate I am going, it may be 2009 before I get to it!

    =) Jill

  4. Ummm Nicola....
    if you don't want to make Australians laugh you'd better edit your post. We certainly don't 'root' for Ned Kelly. We adore him, but in Australia when you are 'rooting' it means that you are having ... um... sexual intercourse.
    We love Ned to bits, but not that much!

  5. haha! Well, thanks for the laugh frogdancer. I guess I'll do a little editing, heehee.

  6. very cool blog, you've quickly added several books to my wish list!

  7. I heard the author give a reading of this book - obviously it was easier for me to get around the lack of punctuation when HE was the one reading it!


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