Bill Bryson has done it again. Yes, it seems that no matter where he finds himself on his travels, memorable writing is the result. Bryson’s latest book (it hit the bookstores on 6 June) is titled In a Sunburned Country, and chronicles in a vastly entertaining way several trips the author made to Australia during the late 1990s.
“Let me say right here that I love Australia -- adore it immeasurably -- and am smitten anew each time I see it”, writes Bryson. “One of the effects of paying so little attention to Australia is that it is always such a pleasant surprise to find it there. Every cultural instinct and previous experience tells you that when you travel this far you should find,at the very least, people on camels. There should be unrecognizable lettering on the signs, and swarthy men in robes drinking coffee from thimble-sized cups and puffing on hookahs, and rattletrap buses and potholes in the road and a real possibility of disease on everything you touch -- but no, it’s not like that at all. This is comfortable and clean and familiar. Apart from a tendency among men of a certain age to wear knee-high socks with shorts, these people are just like you and me. This is wonderful. This is exhilarating. This is why I love to come to Australia.”
“There are other reasons as well, of course, and I am pleased to put them on the record here. The people are immensely likable -- cheerful, extrovert, quick-witted, and unfailingly obliging. Their cities are safe and clean and nearly always built on water. They have a society that is prosperous, well ordered, and instinctively egalitarian. The food is excellent. The beer is cold. The sun nearly always shines. There is coffee on every corner. Rupert Murdoch no longer lives theres. Life doesn’t get much better than this.”
Bill Bryson is the perfect guide on this armchair tour of the Land Down Under. From Alice Springs to Perth, from Sydney to Lambing Flat, his tales of traveling around “the lucky country” left this reader with an overwhelming desire to spent her next vacation in that sunburned country. Be sure to read all about it, mate!
Copyright © 2003, S. Halversen.
All Rights Reserved.