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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.
Bryson mixes historical and factual information with tales of his own travels to Australia, as well as his own wry, humorous observations, in this tale.
I enjoyed reading about Australia, the book gave me a good idea of what that place is like...makes me want to got there...
Both my husband and I are in the process of reading this and it is great fun. Every now and then cannot help but laugh out loud. It is also thoughtful in places. Read morePublished 19 hours ago by evecolorado
Love this book. I think it's the 6th of Bryson's books that I've read. The book is not only informative but also hilarious. His unique sense of humor keep me in stitches. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Pamela
You always learn a lot from Mr. Bryson's books and they are always entertaining. He makes fun of himself as well as the character's, without ever being mean spirited. Read morePublished 4 days ago by D. Kahler
The book is about travel down under and is way over the top; a page turner for sure mate!Published 5 days ago by Michael Kinchen
Very, very entertaining book. Be sure to go online and check out images of the places he is visiting- they are spectacular. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Grace Catledge
Bill Bryson gives readers another absorbing and enjoyable read with this hilarious travelogue! His books never fail to entertain and should be approached from that angle. Read morePublished 8 days ago by rivertide
I'm still reading it... MUCH ENJOYING the trip across and around Australia. My daughter lives in Margaret River, WA. I visit about once a year. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Joan Dobbie