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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 the Hardcover edition.
If you like Bryson and enjoy reading about travel, you should love this book.
In this installment of travel writing, Bryson shares with the reader his love of and fascination with the island/country/continent of Australia.
I enjoyed reading about Australia, the book gave me a good idea of what that place is like...makes me want to got there...
Bryson is always hilarious, but this is him at the top of his game. Not as clear and consistent a narrative as some of his other books, but that's largely because it was written... Read morePublished 5 days ago by mofolotopo
What a fantastic book! I laughed so hard I nearly woke the baby up. Bryson is an exceptionally thoughtful and hilarious writer.Published 7 days ago by Cicely A. Jette
This is a really great read. Bryson, as usual, manages to be informative as well as entertaining.Published 10 days ago by Donald Gardner
I was traveling to Australia and wanted to read about it. The book was OK but nothing earth shattering.Published 11 days ago by Diane Sala
A lengthy review is not needed if one is familiar with Bill Bryson's work. "In a Sunburned Country" is typical. Read morePublished 15 days ago by milleron