Carpentaria (novel)

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For other uses of "Carpentaria", see Carpentaria (disambiguation).
Carpentaria
CarpentariaCover.jpg
First edition cover
Author Alexis Wright
Cover artist Russell White
Country Australia
Language English
Genre Fiction
Publisher Giramondo Publishing
Publication date
2006
Media type Print (paperback)
Pages 519 pp
ISBN 978-1-920882-17-4
OCLC 85863382
823/.914 22
LC Class PR9619.3.W67 C37 2006

Carpentaria is the second novel by the Indigenous Australian author Alexis Wright. It met with widespread critical acclaim when it was published in mid-2006, and went on to win Australia's premier literary prize, the Miles Franklin Award, in mid-2007.

Plot introduction[edit]

The novel tells the interconnected stories of several inhabitants of the fictional town of Desperance, situated on the Gulf of Carpentaria in northwest Queensland. There, the Aboriginal people of the Pricklebush clan are engaged in a number of argumentative conflicts with various enemies in the community, including the white inhabitants of Desperance, the local law enforcement and government officials, and a large multinational mining operation that has been established on their traditional sacred land. The narrative chronicles the interpersonal relationships shared between three men embroiled in these disputes: the wise, pragmatic, and blunt Normal Phantom; the nomadic, overzealous shamanic practitioner of Aboriginal traditional religion, Mozzie Fishman; and Norm's son, Will Phantom, who deserted his father's house to undertake a cross-country spiritual journey with Fishman, but who has now returned home with something of Fishman's character in him.

Publication[edit]

At the time of publication the Australian bookstore chain Angus & Robertson decided to only stock books produced by small-press publishers if the publishers themselves paid a requisite fee.[1] The implication of this decision was that such publishers would be unable to afford these fees, and thus their publications would be removed from the shelves to make room for books that were likely to achieve higher sales. Carpentaria, after having been rejected by every major Australian publisher, was eventually published by Giramondo, one of the publishing houses targeted in Angus and Robertson's campaign; therefore, the most recent winner of Australia's largest literary prize would no longer be stocked in one of Australia's largest bookstore chains.[2] This too received concentrated media attention, and again boosted sales of the novel.

Reviews[edit]

  • "Asia and Pacific Writers Network" [1]
  • "Australian Women's Book Review" [2]
  • "The Sydney Morning Herald" [3]
  • "Time Magazine" [4]

External links[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Rimmer, Charlie, ARW Group Commercial Manager. Letter to Michael Rakusin, 30 July 2007. Letter published at Undercover blog on the Sydney Morning Herald website. 9 August 2007.
  2. ^ Wyndham, Susan. Bookshop chain puts bite on small publishers. Undercover blog at the Sydney Morning Herald website. 8 August 2007.
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
The Ballad of Desmond Kale
Miles Franklin Award recipient
2007
Succeeded by
The Time We Have Taken