Peter Carey — The Kelly Gang (2000)

Setting: 19th century Australian outback

What’s it about? A cowboy/gangster movie in the outback, where the heroes are Irish convicts. Turns history on its head by telling the infamous gang’s history from their perspective: a serious of injustices carried out by a brutal state and police force against the Kelly family. It also describes a PR war between the gang and the police for the support of the community. As in other Carey novels the vernacular style of the narration (told through the fictional pen of Ned Kelly himself) gives the novel a great pace — making it a quick and pleasant read.

The police are a menacing presence from the start:

“Into this shadowy world Sgt O’Neil did come with queer white hair which he were always combing like a girl before a dance he were v.friendly with us children and on the night in question he brung me the gift of a pencil.”

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