True History of the Kelly Gang (2000)
in Peter Carey
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In Jack Maggs, an orphan becomes a criminal; in True History of the Kelly Gang, Peter Carey's second Booker Prize winning novel, Ned loses his father and is abandoned by his mother to become a highwayman and killer. If Jack Maggs looks at the effects of the colonial enterprise on England, True History of the Kelly Gang shows the realities of colonialism as lived inside of the colony itself. Using all the genre modes, True History of the Kelly Gang not only re-writes a national icon; it effectively re-writes the founding elements of the English novel tradition. True History of the Kelly Gang takes the form of 'parcels' of documents, each with a bibliographical description of contents, paper and condition. Throughout Kelly Gang, as Andrew Riemer suggests, 'a touching sense of kinship with an often inhospitable environment emerges from Ned's brief and seemingly matter-of-fact descriptions'.


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