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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...
Book recommended by an acquaintance because am US citizen but a native born Ozzie. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to book via Kindle. Bryson narrates it. Read morePublished 1 day ago by LifeZines
I read this book on my flight over to Sydney, as I move to Australia. I like how Bill manages to convey the vastness and variety that is Australia. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Rashmi Vadnagare
Well written and very funny. I will now look for Mr. Bryson's other works.Published 21 days ago by A. Palla
I've read this book twice and gleaned more from it each time. It's also my favorite book by Bill Bryson. Read morePublished 23 days ago by P. H. Lund
Totally fascinating, great blend of humor and information! Getting ready for my third trip to Australia and wish I'd read this before last trip. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Leeann