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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...
This book was very funny, especially since I was familiar with many of the places he visited. I laughed out loud many times while reading it. Highly recommended reading.Published 3 days ago by Sue Tulis
Great writer. I learned so much about Australia and enjoyed traveling with Bill.
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and learned a lot about Australia. A comprehensive coverage of the country, written in an entertaining style. Read morePublished 6 days ago by ERFC
I love lots of Bill Bryson's books. Not all are great, but this is one of the better ones. I lost it and ordered another copy.Published 7 days ago by discojon
A very well written travel diary. Bryson lets you see and feel the country. A good read but absolutely recommended for anyone planning a trip to Australia.Published 7 days ago by Cristina Gant
I have read this book 4 times. I just recently read it again. I have been fortunate to travel to Australia twice. Read morePublished 11 days ago by P. Parker