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'Extraordinary - a remarkable and satisfying book' Observer

'Songlines' or 'Dreaming Tracks' are what all Europeans call the labyrinth of invisible pathways that meander all over Australia. To Aboriginals, they are the 'Footprints of the Ancestors'; they are both intricate sources of personal identity and territorial markers. From such ancient line, Bruce Chatwin has been able to trace a great deal about an Aboriginal culture as complex as it is different from our own. The conflict between the two ways of life mirrors that within 'civilised' man himself. Disputes over the right to excavate land that is sacred to wandering tribes highlight the importance of myth and instinct in the human psyche. What might in other hands seem theatrically picaresque, Bruce Chatwin transforms into something approaching the scale of Greek tragedy. . .

Reviews

That Chatwin is one of the most distinct and original writers we have is confirmed by the publication of another quite remarkable book

Nicholas Shakespeare

The songlines emerge as invisible pathways connecting up all over Australia: ancient tracks made of songs which tell of the creation of the land. The Aboriginals' religious duty is ritually to travel the land, singing the Ancestors' songs: singing the world into being afresh. The Songlines is one man's impassioned song

David Sexton, Sunday Telegraph

Chatwin is not simply describing another culture; he is also making cautious assertions about human nature. Towards the end of his life Sartre wondered why people still write novels; had he read Chatwin's he might have found new excitement in the genre

Edmund White, Sunday Times

Chatwin delves into aspects of landscape that are beyond road signs and highways, and into a way of living that is entirely alien to the average European… those who are open to a bit of a wander will adore it

Evening Herald

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099769910

    September 4, 1998

    Vintage Classics

    304 pages

    RRP $14.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781448113026

    October 31, 2012

    Vintage Digital

    304 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Bruce Chatwin

The Songlines: Moleskine Special Edition
Under The Sun
Winding Paths
Utz
What Am I Doing Here?
In Patagonia
On The Black Hill
The Viceroy Of Ouidah

Recommendations

Sapiens
The Pleasures of Leisure
Albanese
Outback Legends
The People Smuggler: The True Story of Ali Al Jenabi
Stealth Raiders
Down Under
The Bat
Charlatan
The Story of Australia
The Rise and Fall of Australia
Mr Showbiz
The Divide
Alter-Politics
Dangerous Allies
A History Of Australia (Volumes 1 & 2)
The Drover's Wife
Saving the Snowy Brumbies
Songlines and Fault Lines
The New Nature