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Down Under
(Bill Bryson)

Arriving in Australia Bill Bryson finds himself in a country where danger lurks around every corner and the soil is parched and infertile, although its inhabitants live as though they were in paradise under the scorching sun. In this book, Bryson makes a fascinating journey through the only ?country-continent? on the planet, and his reflections have been captured in one of the most entertaining books that have been written on this place. Having lived in Australia myself for 4 years, I find the image that Bryson has of Australian wildlife very interesting. Although it?s a fact that 10 of the most venomous snakes in the world are found in Australia, that the ?red-back? spider holds enough venom to kill an elephant, and that the Great White is one of the most aggressive species of shark, I never regarded these animals as a threat. In all the time I was there I didn?t come across a single spider/snake bite, nor any shark attacks. This can be put down to ill fate with no more than three occurring every year, which is considerably less than the amount of young people that die every year in this country after driving under the influence of alcohol. Bryson skilfully defines the ?Australian spirit? and manages to put on paper all those things that travellers sense but are unable to put into words. His anecdotes are lively and never fail to bring a smile to the lips pf the reader. Those who know Australia and read Bryson can?t stop thinking about someone, something or some place that has been brought to life by the author?s use of colour, sounds, smell and proper names. He uses the story to reflect on the current reality of the place, and never hesitates to use sarcasm and irony in a stylish and almost reverential manner towards those who make up the body of his work; in this case Australia, its wildlife and exciting people. ?Down Under? is an excellent travel journal for all the people who would like to travel in this country where, in Bryson?s own words, ?you can find anything if you look hard enough.?

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