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Carpentaria by Alexis Wright
Carpentaria tells the stories that revolve around an aboriginal town (author Alexis Wright is a member of the Waanyi) in northern Australia called Desperance. It's a forgotten town shaped by ancient powers and forces of nature, split by people who live on its East and West sides. The Westsiders are led by Norm Phantom, a fish embalmer who leads them in feuds with not just the Eastsiders, but with the white residents of Uptown and the Gurfurritt mining company. The split may have been caused by Norm's wife, Angel Day, who found a statue of the Virgin Mary and decided it held the power of white men. Norm's best friend, Elias, washes up on the beach without his memories, which have been left in the Dreaming time. It's the story of stories and the grand story that ties all stories together. Alexis Wright's second novel has received positive reviews with the Independent saying, "Wright is not just telling a story here: this is every story. It's the story. To call it ambitious would be a hopeless understatement. It is ludicrous and maddening. By any normal criteria the plotting is absurd, the narrative is all over the place and dozens of characters go missing somewhere in its pages. It is a huge, audacious, monstrous work of genius - moving, uplifting and very funny."