Carpentaria by Alexis Wright is the first book I've even read this year (gasp! shock! - I know!). Other than listening to some audio books, I have been stuck in the first half of Les Miserables, and on this book for months. I felt defeated. I didn't want to read, because I wasn't getting anywhere. Finally, I finished ...
Carpentaria won the Miles Franklin Award in 2007.
It is based in a small town in North Queensland. The white inhabitants of the town are comical. The Aboriginal people - the Pricklebush people - have divided themselves between Eastern and Western clans, based on a land rights squabble.
There is also a larger land rights argument that some of the Aboriginal people have the a new mining operation that has opened up nearby.
The images I got whilst reading this were very stark and graphic. The characters were vivid. But the writing was less so - I sometimes lost the story line and didn't understand what was happening, if anything. The timeline jumped around, so I got confused a couple of time (it probably didn't help that I read it over some months, and kept picking it up and putting it down).
The book ended with a feeling of hope, but I am uncertain as to the purpose of the story ... or if there even was a story ... or was it just some happenings in people's lives at a point in time?
This review by Liam Davison has probably done it more justice than I have, if you're keen to learn more.