"I experienced that sinking feeling you get when you know you have conned yourself into doing something difficult and there's no going back." So begins Robyn Davidson's perilous journey across 1,700 miles of hostile Australian desert to the sea with only four camels and a dog for company. Enduring sweltering heat, fending off poisonous snakes and lecherous men, chasing her camels when they get skittish and nursing them when they are injured, Davidson emerges as an extraordinarily courageous heroine driven by a love of Australia's landscape, an empathy for its indigenous people, and a willingness to cast away the trappings of her former identity. Tracks is the compelling, candid story of her odyssey of discovery and transformation.
©1980, 2012 Robyn Davidson (P)2014 Audible Inc.
Across Australia by camel, or more correctly from Alice springs to the Indian Ocean by camel. The first half of this book was, to me, difficult going. Robyn came across as someone unsure of herself, but adamant she was right in whatever that was. She wants a character that warranted sympathy in the troubles she faced ahead of making her journey.
However, once the journey started, the transition from an insecure girl, unsure of her aim, to a determined adventurer, on her own terms, is palpable. It is also a story of making a journey in the public eye, one that she, in turns, detested and was dependent upon.
This is not a book of modern day society, but one of the 1970s in Australia, a time of old fashioned morals and ideas, and Robyn is definitely at odds with many of these. Perhaps this is why she comes across in the early stages of the book as contrary and uncertain of why, why was she doing this.
In her own words, the journey wouldn't be possible now, through many reasons not least modern controls and monitoring would get in the way.
Two of Robyn's quotes, one personal to her, one that rings very true for me.
“Camel trips do not begin or end, they merely change form”
“We can all escape the limitations imposed upon us”
I live in Farnham, UK. I'm married with 2 daughters. I love thrillers, crime, classics, in fact anything good really!
I recently watched the film of the same name. I was entranced by the film and decided to listen to the Audible version of the book. Rarely do I find that films even get close to the original story written down in a book and once again this is true here. The film was good but the book is brilliant. Robyn Davidson is a tremendous writer and describes her struggles to organise her trip. She first had to learn how to handle the camels. She came across total charlatans who promised one thing then went back on their promises. Her description of her trip has you on the edge of your seat. The disasters - one in particular but I won't elaborate for fear of spooling the story - are beautifully documented. Her joy is obvious when things are going well. The kindness that she experiences. Her relationship with the National Geographic photographer who becomes an integral part if he book. All these things make this a terrific book to listen to. I don't know who narrates the story but she is very good too. I think you can tell that I really enjoyed this Audible book!
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