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Carpentaria

Carpentaria

A Novel

  • reading group guide
IN the sparsely populated northern Queensland town of Desperance, battle lines have been drawn in the disputes among the powerful Phantom family of the Westend Pricklebush, Joseph Midnight’s renegade Eastend mob, and the white officials of neighboring towns. Trapped between politics and principle, past and present, the indigenous tribes fight to protect their natural resources, sacred sites, and, above all, their people.

Steeped in myth and magical realism, Wright’s hypnotic storytelling exposes the heartbreaking realities of Aboriginal life. Carpentaria teems with extraordinary, larger-than-life characters who transcend their circumstances and challenge assumptions about the downtrodden "other." The novel "bursts with life" (Daily Telegraph) as Alexis Wright re-creates the land and its people with mysticism, stark reality, and pointed imagination.
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  • Atria Books | 
  • 528 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439157848 | 
  • May 2010
List Price $30.99
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Carpentaria by Alexis Wright includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

In the sparsely populated northern Queensland town of Desperance, loyalties run deep and battle lines have been drawn—between the powerful Phantom family, leaders of the Westend Pricklebush people, and Joseph Midnight’s renegade Eastsend mob—and their disputes with the white citizens of the neighboring towns. When the Gurfurrit mine moves in, making uneasy alliances to support its ownership of the region’s land and rich mineral resources, it aggravates an already complex relationship between Uptown whitefolk and Pricklebush Aboriginals. Trapped between politics and principle, past and present, the indigenous tribes fight to protect their natural resources, sacred sites, and above all, their people. From outcast savior Elias Smith, religious zealot Mozzie Fishman, murderous mayor Bruiser, queen-like Angel Day, to activist Will Phantom and ruler of the family, Normal Phantom, the characters of Carpenteria transcend their circumstances and challenge assumptions about the downtrodden “other.”

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About the Author

Alexis Wright
Photo Credit: Susan Gordon-Brown

Alexis Wright

Alexis Wright is one of Australia's finest writers, a member of the Waanyi nation of the southern highlands of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Her books inlcude Grog War, a study of alcohol abuse in the outback town of Tennant Creek, and the novel Plains of Promise, which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize, the Age Book of the Year Award and the NSW Premier's Award for Fiction, and translated into French as Les Plaines de l'espoir.

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