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Issue Details: First known date: 2006... 2006 Carpentaria
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Carpentaria's portrait of life in the precariously settled coastal town of Desperance centres on the powerful Phantom family, whose members are the leaders of the Pricklebush people, and their battles with old Joseph Midnight's tearaway Eastend mob on the one hand, and the white officials of Uptown and the neighbouring Gurfurrit mine on the other. Wright's storytelling is operatic and surreal: a blend of myth and scripture, politics and farce. The novel is populated by extraordinary characters - Elias Smith the outcast saviour, the religious zealot Mozzie Fishman, leader of the holy Aboriginal pilgrimage, the murderous mayor Stan Bruiser, the ever-vigilant Captain Nicoli Finn, the activist and prodigal son Will Phantom, and above all, Angel Day the queen of the rubbish-dump, and her sea-faring husband Normal Phantom, the fish-embalming king of time - figures that stand like giants in this storm-swept world. (Backcover)

Exhibitions

6692903
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Notes

  • Dedication: For Toly.
  • Author's note: Inspired by all of the beauty that comes from having an ancient homeland that is deeply loved by those who guard it, and especially by my countrymen, Murrandoo Yanner and Clarence Waldon.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Artarmon, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Giramondo Publishing , 2006 .
      person or book cover
      Image courtesy of Giramondo Publishing
      Extent: 519p.
      Reprinted: 2012
      Note/s:
      • Published August 1st 2006
      ISBN: 1920882170, 9781920882303 (limited ed. : hbk), 9781920882310 (pbk)
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Constable ,
      2008 .
      image of person or book cover 3122706879871186006.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 439p.
      Note/s:
      • Published March 1st 2008
      ISBN: 9781845297213
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Atria Books ,
      2009 .
      image of person or book cover 7196117149774898480.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: x, 517p.
      Edition info: 1st Atria Books hardcover Ed.
      Note/s:
      • Published April 7th 2009
      ISBN: 9781416593102 (hbk.) 1416593101
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Constable ,
      2009 .
      image of person or book cover 3137800868856335974.png
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 501p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 28 May 2009.
      ISBN: 9781845299484 (pbk)
    • New Delhi,
      c
      India,
      c
      South Asia, South and East Asia, Asia,
      :
      Navayana Publishing ,
      2015 .
      image of person or book cover 7858399256970702224.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 536p.p.
      Note/s:
      • For sale in South Asia only.
      ISBN: 9788189059699
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Atria Books ,
      2015 .
      image of person or book cover 4151239470290027565.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 333p.p.
      Note/s:
      • Published April 27th 2015
      ISBN: 9781501122347 (ebk), 1501122347 (ebk)
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Constable ,
      2016 .
      image of person or book cover 1529536207403221750.png
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 1v.p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 22 July 2016.
      ISBN: 9781472125453 (ebk)
Alternative title: I cacciatori di stelle
Language: Italian
    • Milan,
      c
      Italy,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Rizzoli ,
      2008 .
      image of person or book cover 7291344916482137700.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 550p.
      ISBN: 9788817023825

Other Formats

  • Sound recording.
  • Braille.
  • Large print.
  • Dyslexic edition.

Works about this Work

Jazz Money Maddee Clark (interviewer), 2021 single work interview
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 11-17 September 2021;
'Poet Jazz Money talks about how Alexis Wright’s novel Carpentaria has inspired her work and paved the way for other Indigenous writers. By Maddee Clark.' 
From Carpentaria to The Swan Book : Finding a Voice to Narrate and Resist the Threat of Extinction in Alexis Wright’s Latest Work Anne Le Guellec-Minel , 2021 single work criticism
— Appears in: E-rea : Revue D'etudes Anglophones , vol. 18 no. 2 2021;
'In 2003, Australian environmental historian Tom Griffiths was commissioned by the Australian Academy of Humanities to address what should be the national research priority of an “Environmentally Sustainable Australia”. He delivered a perhaps circumstantially upbeat speech describing the period both as “a critical and exciting time in environmental scholarship” (Griffiths). He said the increasing awareness of an impending global environmental crisis coincided with a sense of “inhabit[ing] a promising moment in the evolution of disciplinary knowledge”. Griffiths cited the editors of a 1999 anthology of humanistic studies of the environment who identified “systemic socioeconomic and cultural causes” (Conway, Keniston, and Marx 6) as being the most pressing environmental problems, and acknowledged that the solutions to these problems lay beyond the reach of scientific or technical knowledge. In his view, “stories” were what changed the way people acted and the way they used available knowledge. Having described Australian history as “a giant experiment in ecological crisis and management, sometimes a horrifying concentration of environmental damage and cultural loss, and sometimes a heartening parable of hope and learning”, he told his audience, “the stories we live by determine the future. So, in harnessing the power of narrative, in listening to, rediscovering and generating true stories, we change the world” (Griffiths).' (Introduction)
Shifting Timescapes and the Significance of the Mine in Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria Maggie Nolan , 2020 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , 29 October vol. 35 no. 2 2020;

'This article proposes a reading of Alexis Wright’s epic novel Carpentaria that focuses on the mine and its impacts as central to any understanding of the novel. Carpentaria offers a stark portrayal of how resource extraction is intimately linked with both colonisation and capitalism and is sustained through state-sanctioned violence and nationalist ideologies. This article explores the dichotomy between Normal Phantom, who views mining as just another phenomenon in the vast expanse of time, and his son Will, who fights the mine on the understanding that it is an unprecedented threat to the survival of the Waanyi people and their Country. Although I suggest that this wider debate, and the forms of agency it represents, remains unresolved in the novel, I conclude with a meditation on the critically neglected character of Kevin who complicates the novel’s uneasy resolution. In the light of ongoing debates about the Adani mine, Carpentaria is more relevant than ever.' (Publication abstract)

Alexis Wright's Publishing History in Three Contexts : Australian Aboriginal, National, and International Per Henningsgaard , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , June vol. 33 no. 1 2019; (p. 107-124)

'In order to better understand and appreciate Alexis Wright's publishing history, it is important to first place it in the context of the publishing history of Australian Aboriginal literature. Only then can one properly situate it in the larger context of Australian literature. Finally, for full effect, Wright's publishing history should be placed in the context of the international literary marketplace.' (Introduction)

Expanded Reality : Alexis Wright's Revitalisation of Dreamtime Narratives Ben Holgate , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: Climate and Crises : Magical Realism as Environmental Discourse 2019; (p. 42-72)
'Indigenous Australian Alexis Wright's fiction demonstrates how Lawrence Buell's concept of the "environmental unconscious" is a relative term) The collective ideologies and social experiences that shape an individual's perception of the environment vary between people of different societies and cultures. The environmental unconscious, therefore, is a heterogeneous phenomenon rather than a singular, homogeneous one. And, of course, the environment itself — with the definite article — is a relative term, dependent upon the actual geographical locality. Wright's fiction is largely set in Northern Australia, where populations are sparse, and where arid or semi-arid landscapes meet tropical seas. In particular, the backdrop within much of her three novels to date is the Gulf of Carpentaria, from where her family originates, and which is the home of the Waanyi nation. Moreover, Wright imbues her fiction with the Indigenous Australian Dreamtime, a philosophy and spiritual framework that is inextricably connected to the Australian landscape, but which is substantially different from Western philosophies, even ecological ones. In other words, Wright's books are notable for being unlike European or North American fiction in both the geographical environment of their settings and the world view that underpins the narratives.' (Introduction) 
 
When the Narrator's Art Matches the Magical Storytelling Alison Ravenscroft , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 19 August 2006; (p. 22)

— Review of Carpentaria Alexis Wright , 2006 single work novel
Calming Influence in Balance Fraught with Pain Peter Pierce , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 2 September 2006; (p. 13)

— Review of Carpentaria Alexis Wright , 2006 single work novel
Phantasmagorical Tale Fills a Legendary Landscape Liam Davison , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 16-17 September 2006; (p. 32-33)

— Review of Carpentaria Alexis Wright , 2006 single work novel
Small-Town Dreaming Katharine England , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 30 September 2006; (p. 10)

— Review of Carpentaria Alexis Wright , 2006 single work novel
A Weird Mob Sally Blakeney , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 10 October vol. 124 no. 6541 2006; (p. 70)

— Review of Carpentaria Alexis Wright , 2006 single work novel
The Call of the Claypans Jane Sullivan , 2006 single work biography
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 9-10 September 2006; (p. 30-31)
From Here to Carpentaria Jane Sullivan , 2006 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 9 September 2006; (p. 26-27)
Dispatches from the Reviewing Front ... Stephen Matchett , 2006 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian Literary Review , October vol. 1 no. 2 2006; (p. 22)
Matchett comments on reviews of the three books listed here as subjects.
A List Both Short and Sweet James Ley , 2007 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 28-29 April 2007; (p. 37)
On Writing Carpentaria Alexis Wright , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: Heat , no. 13 (New Series) 2007; (p. 79-95) The Canberra Times , 23 June 2007; (p. B4)

Wright describes what drove her to write her novel Carpentaria, stating that 'For a long time while I was exploring how to write Carpentaria, I tried to come to some understanding of two principal questions: firstly, how to understand the idea of Indigenous people living with the stories of all the times of this country, and secondly, how to write from this perspective.'

Last amended 23 Jul 2021 13:13:08
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