- File Size: 1854 KB
- Print Length: 436 pages
- Publisher: Broadway Books; 1st edition (September 1, 2000)
- Publication Date: April 27, 2008
- Sold by: Random House LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000Q9ISSQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,169 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
In a Sunburned Country 1st Edition, Kindle Edition
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- Length: 436 pages
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
- Page Flip: Enabled
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From the Hardcover edition.
Bryson, who could make a pile of dirt compelling--and yes, Australia is mostly dirt--finds no shortage of curiosities. When he isn't dodging Portuguese man-of-wars or considering the virtues of the remarkable platypus, he visits southwest Gippsland, home of the world's largest earthworms (up to 12 feet in length). He discovers that Australia, which began nationhood as a prison, contains the longest straight stretch of railroad track in the world (297 miles), as well as the world's largest monolith (the majestic Uluru) and largest living thing (the Great Barrier Reef). He finds ridiculous place names: "Mullumbimby Ewylamartup, Jiggalong, and the supremely satisfying Tittybong," and manages to catch a cricket game on the radio, which is like
listening to two men sitting in a rowboat on a large, placid lake on a day when the fish aren't biting; it's like having a nap without losing consciousness. It actually helps not to know quite what's going on. In such a rarefied world of contentment and inactivity, comprehension would become a distraction.
"You see," Bryson observes, "Australia is an interesting place. It truly is. And that really is all I'm saying." Of course, Bryson--who is as much a travel writer here as a humorist, naturalist, and historian--says much more, and does so with generous amounts of wit and hilarity. Australia may be "mostly empty and a long way away," but it's a little closer now. --Rob McDonald --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
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My only complaint is that while reading the book on my Kindle, I was unable to take it with me to places where I would not be alone (e.g. clinic and dental waiting rooms, hairdresser's salon, concert hall foyer, Café or public transport), because I often burst into uncontrollable laughter, which might upset people near me and could even result in my removal to a department for the mentally disturbed.
After reading the book I began to hear of the tragic, devastating bushfires destroying much of the beauty Bryson describes, transforming the book into a sad reminder of that vast, unique continent.
I've been asked by Aussie friends what I thought of the book, as they enjoyed the heck out of it. that must say something. I'm really no closer to figuring them out, but that can hardly be Bryson's fault.
Top international reviews
Just read how he describes the sport of cricket or how he was chased by two dogs in the middle of Sydney and if you don't run for an incontinence pad, I will eat my virtual hat!
I agree with another reviewer that he overdid the poisonous creatures lurking in the country, as I never saw anything at all during my long visit. However, this chapter does concentrate the mind!
I like the Australians, and so does Bill; OK, he wasn't impressed with Darwin or Canberra, but that seems to be pretty general. He does give you an idea of the size of this country; on the map, it does not look very far between A and B, but
you are talking days of travel in some cases.
Read it - you will enjoy it!
Jonathan Nicholas - Author of 'Oz-A Hitchhiker's Australian Anthology'.
Worth buying just for the last chapter if you already have Down Under. If you didn't buy it then you missed a treat as the entire book is classic Bryson, written in his best slightly sardonic and witty style and a match for any of his other travel guides.
Worth a go!