Set in the precariously settled coastal town of Desperance, Carpentaria is the unforgettable portrait of the powerful Phantom family, leader of the Westend Pricklebush people, and its battles with old Joseph Midnight's renegade Eastend mob on the one hand, and the white officials of Uptown and the neighbouring Gurfurrit mine on the other.
By turns operatic and surreal, Wright's stunning and richly imagined storytelling is a blend of myth and scripture, farce and politics. Her extraordinary characters - Elias Smith the outcast saviour, the religious zealot Mozzie Fishman, the murderous mayor Stan Bruiser, the moth-ridden Captain Nicoli Finn, the activist and prodigal son Will Phantom, and above all, the rulers of the family, the queen of the rubbish-dump and the fish-embalming king of time, Angel Day and Normal Phantom - stride like giants in this storm-swept world.
So comprehensive is Wright's vision that reading it is like looking at her world from the inside. It's an unashamedly big book - big in scope, ambition and physical size - and well-suited to the Gulf country it sings. It is also an important book.
About The Author
Alexis Wright is one of Australia's finest writers and a member of the Waanyi nation of the southern highlands of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Her books include 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 and the NSW Premier's Award.