In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson is a travelogue that chronicles the author’s journey through Australia.
The book follows Bryson as he travels around Australia by train and car, conversing with locals and reflecting on the country’s history and culture. He visits places such as White Cliffs, where there is not much to do but a pub, gas station, café, grocery store, laundry service, and an opal shop.
Bryson approaches the subject with his characteristic humor, dry wit, and historical digressions from the narrative. He explains why he wrote the book and shares his experiences of the country.
The main themes of the book are the diversity of Australia, its long commutes between cities, and its friendly inhabitants. Bryson also touches on the country’s peculiar and lethal wildlife, as well as its secret bomb tests.
In A Sunburned Country is a humorous and insightful look at Australia and its people. It is a must-read for anyone interested in learning more about the country.
What I Liked
I think that this book is Bryson’s best travelogue. The research and historical anecdotes are perfect. The route is varied. He’s cantankerous but not grumpy. It takes place at a happy, stable part of Australia’s history (right before the Sydney Olympics). And his interactions are all hilarious.
What I Did Not Like
In the epilogue, he really trashes the Atlanta Olympics. Now, I know that the Atlanta Olympics had issues (they all do) and I am biased towards my adopted hometown, but wow – it’s a bit much.
Otherwise, A++ book.