Pré-occupation et souffle du lieu dans Carpentaria

Estelle Castro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An epic, a social satire, an adventure story subtended by humoristic passages, Carpentaria is, as Alexis Wright called it, “a spinning multi-stranded helix of stories”. Spinning a multiplicity of characters – such as Norm Phanton, who keeps “a library chock-a-block full of stories of the old country stored” in his head – this novel explores how old battles are rekindled and new wars fought with the opening of a mine in the Gulf of Carpentaria. In Carpentaria, a modern masterpiece, rendering the land as a character and as agent, and weaving together (hi)stories and philosophies which are specific to the land, the australianisation of literature has been brought to new limits. This essay examines how the present and the Australian space are conceived, sung and lived through webs of memories in this novel, which imagines a new space for freedom defying all the limits imposed by colonisation, neo-colonialism and materialism. It explores how the Aboriginal land, present, and future regain their rights through the many voices conjured up in the Gulf of Carpentaria, and how resistance through local actions is invested with existential, national and global significance.
Original languageFrench
Issue numberLittératures du Pacifique
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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