'"I lost my own father at 12 yr. of age and know what it is to be raised on lies and silences my dear daughter you are presently too young to understand a word I write but this history is for you and will contain no single lie may I burn in Hell if I speak false."
'In TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG, the legendary Ned Kelly speaks for himself, scribbling his narrative on errant scraps of paper in semi-literate but magically descriptive prose as he flees from the police. To his pursuers, Kelly is nothing but a monstrous criminal, a thief and a murderer. To his own people, the lowly class of ordinary Australians, the bushranger is a hero, defying the authority of the English to direct their lives. Indentured by his bootlegger mother to a famous horse thief (who was also her lover), Ned saw his first prison cell at 15 and by the age of 26 had become the most wanted man in the wild colony of Victoria, taking over whole towns and defying the law until he was finally captured and hanged. Here is a classic outlaw tale, made alive by the skill of a great novelist.' (From the publisher's website.)
'This is the most complete history of fiction in English ever published. The world's greatest authority - arguably the only person who could have written it, John Sutherland - provides the lives of some 294 novelists writing in English, from the genre's seventeenth-century origins to the present day. Arranged in chronological order the novelist's lives are opinionated, informative, frequently funny and often shocking. Professor Sutherland's authors come from all over the world; their writings illustrate every kind of fiction from gothic, penny dreadfuls and pornography to fantasy, romance and high literature. The book shows the changing forms of the genre, and how the aspirations of authors to divert and sometimes to educate their readers, has in some respects, radically changed over the centuries, and in others - such as their interest in sex and relationships - remained remarkably constant.' (Publisher's blurb)
Although acknowledging that Carey's True History of the Kelly Gang is a 'stunningly compelling and suspenseful narrative in highly imaginative and original prose', Clancy argues that 'Carey's use of historical fact is not only subjective and selective but it is also highly partisan. The changes he has made to historical fact mostly lie in one direction - a perpetuation of the comfortable and undisturbing myth of Kelly as a much put upon victim ... It is the version American reviewers accepted uncritically and which many Australians will continue to pay homage to, at the expense of an historical Ned Kelly who was a far more complex and ambiguous figure.'