Carpentaria is Alexis Wright's second novel, an epic set in the Gulf country of north¬western Queensland.

The novel's portrait of life in the precariously settled coastal town of Desperance centres on 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.

Wright's storytelling is operatic and surreal: a blend of myth and scripture, politics and farce. The novel teems with extraordinary characters — the outcast saviour Elias Smith, the religious zealot Mozzie Fishman, the murderous mayor Bruiser, the moth-ridden Captain Nicoli Finn, the activist 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 — figures of such an intense imagining, they stand like giants in this storm-swept world.

Actual cover shown.

CARPENTARIA by Alexis Wright

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  • Giramondo Publishing - 2006