Albert is a duck-billed platypus, who has escaped from a zoo in Adelaide to look for somewhere that may, or may not, exist: Old Australia, a place where humans never venture, and animals still rule. Albert knows it's somewhere in the middle of the Outback - not the ideal habitat for a water-loving animal - but now he's lost and close to death. He's saved, though, by Jack, a pyromaniac, sardine-loving wombat, who promptly gets him into even worse trouble by taking him to a marsupial-only bar run by a kangaroo called O'Hanlin, getting him drunk, and then burning the bar down. And this is just the beginning of Albert's adventure....
A glorious romp of a novel, Albert of Adelaide is a story of friendship, loyalty, and heroism. And marsupials. Pacy and poignant, it's completely original - a book for people (and animals) of all ages
©2012 Howard L. Anderson (P)2012 Audible Ltd
I loved this book. Like western shoot 'em ups The Sisters Brothers and True Grit, this was a story of rough characters who have seen a tough existence, surviving in a harsh landscape, with only their wiles and wit to keep them alive. Except these tough guys are a plucky platypus, a pyromaniacal wombat and a host of mean dingos and marsupials, not to mention a couple of alcoholic bandicoots. And that's what makes this story work.
The characters could easily be applied to men, old drivers in the outback: there are conniving gangs out to get what they can, lone wolves just travelling through, some helping and some hindering Albert in his journey to find the 'old Australia' he heard about whilst in Adelaide Zoo, but it wouldn't be nearly as entertaining if they were human. These animals have their own prejudices - 'never trust anyone without a pouch', and even the innocent Albert has to revisit his own negative feelings for dingoes.
Bottom line, this is a great Australian frontier story, told with vivid imagery and characterisation, not to mention a high bodycount. And with one of the best lines I've ever heard in an audiobook: "I've never met a wallaby that wasn't a w**ker".
It's like an Australian Wind in The Willows Western. Fist fighting Platypus (or whatever Platypuses have for fists) gun toating possums, depressed arsonist Wombat and the odd slit throat of a dingo. It's a bit different.
I can imagine listening to this in the car on a long journey and being enjoyed by the whole family. Absolutely captivating and made me laugh out loud on many an occasion.
Each of the characters are completely believable, narration is great. A tale of friendships, betrayal, dreams all set in Old Australia, an action packed listen.
Enjoy - you won't be disappointed.
The story is fine, intriguing as I would liken it to an Australian cowboy story with animals as the main characters. In fact I'd summarise it as a childs story written for adults - more violence and baddies.
Once you ignore the fact that these are animals you can lose yourself in their adventures. Very enjoyably narrated and easy to follow the plot. Has some very funny parts and is well worth the listen.
I bought this story because I thought it looked and sounded quirky.
Quirky it is: a road trip by a Platypus who meets bandicoots, possums, and a Raccoon! Yet through the beguiling tale, there are reflections on loyalty, loss, friendship, betrayal, redemption ... it is simply lovely and wonderful and very uplifting. One goes to Hell ... and beyond!
If you like the offbeat and quirky, then give this a go. I am so glad I did.
Outstanding! Not at all what I was expecting. Outside of Australia one does not often hear the tales of Australian Bushmen, except for the more famous ones such as Ned Kelly, but here Howard Anderson has put that to rights, although with a marsupial twist. Wonderfully read by Amelia Cormack, this is a story that could appeal to all ages, though perhaps best kept away from younger children due to some of the violence, and questionable moral attitudes of some of the characters that we meet. So disappointed when it came to an end, I could have gone on listening, and listening, and listening . . ..
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when I bought this, so there were no expectations dashed initially. I loved the character of Albert and loved his intrepid trip across the dessert, but was a bit perplexed by the Wild West gunfights, towns and other shenanigans.
Many of the characters were lovely. There's Jack, a wombat and veteran of Old Australia who Albert first spots fully clothed and making tea over the open flames. Then there's Muldoon, a mythical wrestling / boxing hero who Albert eventually meets and who turns out to be a Tasmanian Devil. We also meet an American raccoon (a lovable scoundrel!), drunken bandicoots, bar-owning and betting kangaroos, wallabies, dingoes (who aren't as bad as stereotypes might suggest, in the end!) and a couple of nasty, under-handed creatures who stir things up.
I'm in two minds about the book. On the one hand, I learned a huge amount about the animals of Australia - even though I've been to Australia, I found myself looking up "bandicoots" and "platypus + poison" and other interesting searches.
On the other hand, I didn't understand the "American Wild West" theme, and apart from some tantalising hints at the "people" from the regions, all of the animals we're pretty "Western" - no Aboriginal characters or animals, and I thought that a shame.
You would be forgiven for thinking this was a childs story for the first hour, however the set pieces, humor, and language soon become apparent, that this is aimed squally at adults, in a good way!
Nicely paced, enjoyable and funny story, which just loses its self at the finale of the story, well worth a read though.
I loved this book. It's that simple.
I bought it, as a part of my plan to listen/read other genres than crime fiction and I totally fell in love with it.
It's charming, well-written, funny, sad, exciting. I could feel the burning sun, see the flat hot landscape and had no problems accepting that kangaroos tended bars, that wallabies and possums could be crooks and that dingoes actually are quite wise.
And Albert, well all I wanted to do, was to put him in my pocket and bring him back to the Murray river...
A good read! :-)
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