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Carpentaria by Alexis Wright


Carpentaria by Alexis Wright

Set in the precariously settled coastal town of Desperance, Carpentaria is the unforgettable portrait of the powerful Phantom family, leader of the Westend Pricklebush people, and its battles with old Joseph Midnight's renegade Eastend mob on the one hand, and the white officials of Uptown and the neighbouring Gurfurrit mine on the other.By turns operatic and surreal, Wright's stunning and richly imagined storytelling is a blend of myth and scripture, farce and politics. Her extraordinary characters - Elias Smith the outcast saviour, the religious zealot Mozzie Fishman, the murderous mayor Stan Bruiser, the moth-ridden Captain Nicoli Finn, the activist and prodigal son Will Phantom, and above all, the rulers of the family, the queen of the rubbish-dump and the fish-embalming king of time, Angel Day and Normal Phantom - stride like giants in this storm-swept world.


A truly breathtaking Australian epic ... a sure-fire beachbuster * The Lady * One of the most enchanting books of this year * The Financial Times * Carpentaria is a swelling, heaving, tsunami of a novel: stinging, sinuous, salted with outrageous humour, sweetened by spiralling lyricism and swaggering with the confident promise of a tale dominated by risk, roguery and revelation. * Michele Grossman, The Australian * This is the kind of writing in which a reader can put their entire trust in the narrator, put the weight of their doubt in the narrator's hands. It is like being spoken to by someone with a voice you can trust, someone standing close by. It is as if you could hear their intake of breath, the compassion in their voice, their amusement at the foolishness of mortals. * Alison Ravescroft, The Age * So comprehensive is Wright's vision that reading it is like looking at her world from the inside. It's an unashamedly big book - big in scope, ambition and physical size - and well-suited to the Gulf country it sings. It is also an important book. * Liam Davison, Sydney Morning Herald * Wright's is the authentic aboriginal voice. With humour and occasional farce, but always with an underlying truthfulness, she delivers a brutal portrait of the physical and psychological violence between the white newcomers and the original inhabitants. * The Economist * Wright's gift to Australian literature is Desperance ... it's her uncanny ear for the particularities of local language and eye for striking symbolism that could carry Carpentaria into the classics sections of bookshelves in years to come. * Michael Fitzgerald, Time Magazine * Alexis Wright's Carpentaria is already considered an Australian masterwork, one of those books which re-make a world, in this case the world of tropic Australia, Aboriginal and European, anew. It will attract and excite readers the world over. * Thomas Keneally * A huge, audacious, monstrous work of genius...moving, uplifting and'll emerge from this astonishing novel with a bit of your brain left in the Dreamtime. * The Independent. * [A] thundering, swelling epic ... Wright has a way of entering the hearts, minds and bloodstreams of her characters. * The Times * An astonishing tour de force ... undeniably important * Guardian *

About the Author

Alexis Wright is one of Australia's finest writers and a member of the Waanyi nation of the southern highlands of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Her books include Grog War, a study of alcohol abuse in the outback town of Tennant Creek, and the novel Plains of Promise, which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize, the Age Book of the Year and the NSW Premier's Award.

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Book Info

Publication date

28th May 2009


Alexis Wright

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Constable an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group


512 pages


Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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