Thursday, September 17, 2009

True history of the Kelly Gang

by Peter Carey
I didn't know, when I began this history, that it's based on real events. And while it took me a chapter or two to adjust to the semi-literate voice of the anti-hero, it really is a great Western yarn -- made all the better because it's an Australian story and is relatively free of jingoism. Or, at least, it's Aussie jingoism so less irritating than the usual.
The only real problem I had with the book is that the summaries at the beginning of each chapter -- supposed editorial editions to Kelly's manuscripts -- contain a lot of spoilers. I suppose that to someone who a) knew it was based on true events and b) knew what those events were they wouldn't have been spoilers. But to your average Canadian, who knows little enough about history in her own former colony, the Kelly Gang were all strangers.

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