Best 2000 Adventures (4)
November 22, 2020
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 2000 adventure novels.
Peter Carey’s historical adventure True History of the Kelly Gang.
Ned Kelly was an Australian bushranger and gang leader, best known for wearing a suit of bulletproof armour during his final shootout. Carey’s fictionalized version of this Australian frontier yarn, written as Kelly’s own autobiography, is a harrowing life’s story. Ned’s father, an Irish convict transported to the colony of Victoria, Australia, is persecuted by the colonial police forces; he dies when Ned is 12. Ned’s mother, a handsome woman with many children to raise, takes the bushranger Harry Power as a lover; she persuades him to take on a reluctant Ned as an apprentice. The strong-willed boy quarrels with Harry and returns to his family, but not before learning how to rob stagecoaches and evade pursuit. Ned never gets any breaks, and he and his brother Dan are eventually forced to flee the authorities; joined by two friends, who later become known as members of the Kelly Gang, the young men rob banks, give money to the downtrodden… and kill some policemen. Cornered by dozens of policemen, the Kelly Gang constructs suits of armor. Ned’s autobiography is written just before the shootout.
Fun facts: The novel, which won the Booker Prize and which has been called one of the best novels of the century, was adapted as a movie by Justin Kurzel in 2020. The film’s cast includes George MacKay as Kelly and Russell Crowe as Harry Power.
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.