+612 9045 4394
Carpentaria : Winner of the 2007 Miles Franklin Literary Award - Alexis Wright


Winner of the 2007 Miles Franklin Literary Award

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

Share This Book:


RRP $26.95
In Stock
if ordered within
Enter an Australian post code for delivery estimate

Earn 44 Qantas Points
on this Book

Alexis Wright is one of Australia’s finest Aboriginal writers. Carpentaria is her second novel, a soaring epic set in the Gulf country of north-western Queensland, from where her people come. 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.

Industry Reviews

"A dreamlike novel from Australian aboriginal author Wright of a dreamtime interrupted as Australian native peoples meet industrial civilization.If you can call it civilization, that is. Perched on the infernally hot salt flats of northern Queensland, at some distance from a sluggish river full of mud and "serpents and fish in the monsoon season," is a waterless port town named Desperance, the center of Wright's stately epic.

Around Desperance - waterless so long that no one can remember when it stood near water - snakes a ring of aboriginal encampments, each a little more desperate than the next. In one lives a suggestively named old man, Normal Phantom, wise but somewhat feckless, given to making pronouncements in the voice of "a presidential Captain Hook." Inside another camp are the Eastend boys, ne'er-do-wells deluxe, who have their difficulties with the neighbors.

After all, as the narrator quietly observes, this idea that people should live in harmony "was a policy designed by the invader's governments," and not really anything inherent in human nature. Among these " 'edge' people, all of the blackfella mob living with quiet breathing in higgily-piggerly, rubbish-dump trash shacks," rivalries unfold, difficulties ensue and untoward events multiply.

Imagine Gabriel Garc'a Marquez's fictional town Macondo set on dustier ground and with considerably more magic - and aboriginal mythology - worked into the magical realism, and you have some approximation of Wright's fluent tale, in which not much happens but a large cast of memorable characters are allowed to show themselves: a Bible-thumper, a psychopath whose motto is "Hit first, talk later," some quirky types and some just plain normal folk.

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