Australia is a land of contradictions – nationalistic, competitive, superficially welcoming and casually racist – a ‘Garden of Eden’ forever teetering on the edge of the next natural disaster. A country built on wave upon wave of economic migrants governed by politicians that have repeatedly adopted immigration policies designed to be racially selective. The author and his wife undertook a 40,000 km journey visiting the remote Outback, small country towns and the cities of ‘The Lucky Country’ and discovered an alien land, simultaneously frightening and familiar – a country living in a parallel universe half a world away from the glossy brochures and television commercials produced by Tourism Australia. Despite these contradictions, they also discovered a country of breathtaking beauty with charming people in possession of an infectious informality. This is the real Australia viewed through a pair of squinted eyes able to highlight both the absurd and the wonderful.
I loved this book. It held my interest from the first page right through to the last. I was drawn into the adventure with vivid descriptions of vast landscapes, seashores and wildlife. I was kept ‘laugh out loud’ amused by Keith’s hilarious sense of humour, particularly with reference to some of the fellow travellers and local residents he and his wife, Edith, encountered on their journey. Keith’s observations of their idiosyncrasies and habits throughout the journey brought it alive for me and I was given a real feel for the large towns and small villages through fascinating, historical facts that could have easily been overlooked or ignored by a less curious traveller. I found the book refreshingly honest, my previous ideas of Australia swept aside by Keith’s more realistic, but every bit as wonderful, view. This is a book I will treasure and read again.
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