True History of the Kelly Gang (Signed copy)
Signed by Peter Carey, the first Australian edition bound in quarter leather
First Australian edition, first printing hardback, bound in quarter leather and paper covered boards with printed titling to upper board, in glassine wrap. Fore-edge untrimmed. 23.5 × 15cm, 401pp.
Signed directly to the title page by Peter Carey.
Set in the desolate settler communities north of Melbourne in the late 19th century, the novel is told in the form of a journal, written by the famous outlaw and "bushranger" Ned Kelly, to a daughter he will never see. As Kelly explains, "I lost my own father at 12 yr. of age and know what it is to be raised on lies and silences my dear daughter you are presently too young to understand a word I write but this history is for you and will contain no single lies may I burn in hell if I speak false".
The salty, colloquial, unpunctuated style of Kelly's journal is reproduced with great skill, as Carey recounts the outlaw's early life with a cross-dressing, Irish immigrant sheep worker, and a beautiful but headstrong mother, always on the wrong side of the law. Inadvertently causing the arrest and death of his father, Ned realises that "there were a drought and nothing flourishing there but misery I were the oldest son I thought it time to earn my place", a decision that ultimately leads him into conflict with the law, and to form the notorious Kelly Gang.
The book is in very good condition, with some spotting to the pages' top edge. The binding is secure and the pages are clean, and Peter Carey's is the only inscription. The glassine wrapper has been torn and punctured to spine. A rare first edition to find signed.
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