Forget Crocodile Dundee, Castlemaine XXXX and the 2000 Sydney Olympics - Bill Bryson is the man to put Australia on the map.Bill Bryson has traversed the length and breadth of Australia to bring us his first major new book since the bestselling A Walk in the Woods. Bryson is a household name, synonymous with laugh-out-loud humour, uncontrolled sniggering and spontaneous outbursts of chortling. Down Under will reinforce his reputation as the best-loved travel writer and humorist of our day. No worries!What greeted Bill Bryson when he visited Australia was rather different to what he'd imagined. It is a country that exists on a vast scale. It is the driest, flattest, hottest, most dessicated, infertile and climatically aggressive of all the inhabited continents, and still it teems with life, a large proportion of it quite deadly!A country where even the fluffiest of caterpillars can lay one out with a toxic nip, where seashells will not just sting but GO for one! One may be fatally chomped by sharks, or crocodiles, or carried hopelessly out to sea by irresistible currents, or left to stagger to an unhappy death in the baking outback.Bill Bryson ignored such dangers, and promptly fell in love with the country! And who can blame him? The people are cheerful, the food excellent, the beer always cold, the sun nearly always shines. Life doesn't get much better than this!
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Comments about Down Under:
This book is fantastic! I have read it twice and will read again. So good to read about my country in Bryson's book. Even better because I know this country. I lent it to my grandmother who absolutely loved it!
Comments about Down Under:
Quick and on time.
So the question is: will Bill Bryson be able to deliver yet another travel book that educates, entertains and makes the delighted reader laugh aloud? No worries, mate, because 'Bryson visits Australia' (or Down Under, to use its proper title) doesn't disappoint. Our boy Bill declares his love for the Antipodes and proves it beyond doubt. This is another well-researched serio-comic treat, featuring Bryson's classic creation - a bemused American tourist who masks his generosity of spirit and genuine wonder behind a wisecracking persona (the character known as 'Bill Bryson'). Bryson's delight in language and wordplay is perhaps his greatest gift. My favourites from Down Underinclude his collection of Australian Parliamentary epithets ('you perfumed gigolo/mangy maggot/stunned mullet') and his encounter with a complete stranger in the shadow of a giant fibreglass lobster somewhere south of Melbourne (the punch-line to which is 'man crushed by falling bullock's bollocks'). Another winner is the vicious parody of Ozzie radio cricket commentary ('I don't think I've seen offside medium slow fast pace bowling to match it since Baden-Powell took Rangachangabanga for a maiden ovary at Bangalore in 1948'). He's also acute on politics. The plight of the Aborigines in the land that they settled 45,000 years ago lingers in the mind. He remains tough on American junk culture, too: 'We Yanks have created a philosophy of retailing that is totally without aesthetics and totally irresistible.' Bryson's tales of overindulgence in the local brew - familiar from previous books - are still surreally funny but have become a little disturbing. Whether he knows it or not (and I expect he does), he is slowly revealing intriguing aspects of his complicated personality to his many readers. There's an underlying world-weariness here, even an existential angst. EXCELLENT. I continue to find Bryson fascinating company, warts and all. Review by KERRY SHALE (Kirkus UK)
Number Of Pages: 432
Published: August 2001
Dimensions (cm): 19.9 x 12.8 x 2.6
Weight (kg): 0.31