Peter Carey’s novel True History of the Kelly Gang is widely renowned for its intriguing and colourful fictionalised depiction of the people and events of the Ned Kelly story. In this video he discusses his thoughts on the Kelly story and his approach to telling his own version of the story and reads a portion of the text as well.

Carey’s book plays, as many of his stories do, with the notion of the unreliable narrator, hence the deceptive title “True History” implying the subjectivity of truth. In emulating an essence of Ned’s voice from the Jerilderie letter he crafts a narrative that is emotionally charged and multi-layered, though not without questionable choices (the “Sons of Sieve” sub-plot is of note here). Carey’s understanding of the Kelly story is demonstrably strong and lends a sense of authenticity to the text, perhaps the reason why so many even to this day believe that this is a factual account. With Justin Kurzel, the man behind the recent Assassin’s Creed film, taking on the task of adapting this novel (a task abandoned by Neil Jordan in the early 2000s) it will be interesting to see if Kelly-mania once again sweeps the nation as it did when the novel won the Booker Prize in 2001.

One thought on “Spotlight: Imagining Ned Kelly: Interview with Peter Carey

  1. Ned Kelly was a hero at age 11? when he saved the Avnel store keepers son from drowning in the flooded Avnel Creek. he was hounded by the police untill he was jailed at 15 for riding a stolen horse which was stoled by Wild Wright . on realese from Pentridge Prison at 19 he took up timber cutting in Gippsland and Beechworth then went home to Greta when that work ran out .he was again hounded by the police until he and Joe Bryan were hunted down without a warrant for the reward for horse steeling. the fact that there was a shoot out at Stringy Bark Creek just proves how much the police wanted the reward money .Ned fired in self defence to protect himself and Joe and his brother Dan and his mate Steve Hart. Ned is revered as a fighter for human rights something that was denied to all Irish decent people and still is today by the English.

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