Review: True history of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey

Essay by Mazari April 2010

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08 January 2002


23 Shawwal 1422

REVIEW: Outlaw icon of Australia

By Shehryar Mazari

He achieved his first major success with Illywhacker (slang for 'confidence trickster'), a novel shortlisted for the 1985 Booker Prize. With his third novel Oscar and Lucinda, Carey stormed to the forefront of the literary world by winning the 1988 Booker Prize. Since then he has been ratcheting up further successes with novels such as The tax inspector and Jack Maggs. Modern Australia, with its inauspicious convict roots and its relatively short history, is said to possess only three national heroes: Sir Donald Bradman, the incomparable cricketer; Phar Lap, ironically a New Zealand born stallion but regarded by Australians as the world's greatest race horse, and the bushranger Ned Kelly. In writing True history of the Kelly Gang, Peter Carey has delved into the life of this quintessential Australian...