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Carpentaria - Alexis Wright

Paperback Published: 1st August 2006
ISBN: 9781920882310
Number Of Pages: 528

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Winner of the 2007 Miles Franklin Literary Award

Alexis Wright is one of Australia’s finest Aboriginal writers. Carpentaria is her second novel, an epic set in the Gulf country of north-western Queensland, from where her people come. The novel’s portrait of life in the precariously settled coastal town of Desperance centres on 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.

Wright’s storytelling is operatic and surreal: a blend of myth and scripture, farce and politics. The novel teems with 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 queen of the rubbish-dump Angel Day and her sea-faring husband Normal Phantom, the fish-embalming king of time – figures that stride like giants across this storm-swept world.

Industry Reviews

"Alexis Wright's second novel is a vast, sprawling affair that extends magically beyond its hefty 500 pages. It takes you outside the expected scope of narrative time to a place that is simultaneously familiar and astoundingly new."
The Sydney Morning Herald

"Despite highly laudatory reviews, Wright’s 500-plus-page tale of the tortured relations between blacks and whites in the sparsely populated desert country around the Gulf of Carpentaria in northern Queensland languished on bookstore shelves."
The New York Times

"[Wright] draws not only on the dramatic topography of the region, but on an essentially non-European vision of humankind's place in the world. This, together with a defiantly individual literary style, can prove challenging at times, but the persistent reader will be amply rewarded."
The Guardian

"Wright, a member of the Waanyi people, turns in stretches of mixed-language patois that is a pleasure but sometimes a challenge to follow ("Big cyclone coming, boy, everybody barrba, jayi, yurrngi-jbangka - you better come with us") as the tale winds its way to the end.A latter-day epic that speaks, lyrically, to the realities and aspirations of Aboriginal life."
Kirkus Reviews

ISBN: 9781920882310
ISBN-10: 1920882316
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 528
Published: 1st August 2006
Publisher: Giramondo Publishing Co
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.8

Earn 44 Qantas Points
on this Book

Alexis Wright

About the Author


Alexis Wright is a member of the Waanyi nation of the southern highlands of the Gulf of Carpentaria. The author of the prize-winning novels Carpentaria and The Swan Book, Wright has published two works of non-fiction, Take Power, an oral history of the Central Land Council, and Grog War, a study of alcohol abuse in the Northern Territory in addition to the landmark work Tracker, the Stella Prize-winning book on Aboriginal Leader Tracker Tilmouth.

Her books have been published widely overseas, including in China, the US, the UK, Italy, France and Poland. She was recently named the Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature at the University of Melbourne.

Visit Alexis Wright's Booktopia Author Page