Songlines by Bruce Chatwin
Look inside with Google Book Preview
By Bruce Chatwin

The Songlines

By (author) See other recent books by Bruce Chatwin
Format: Paperback

Normal Price: $14.99
Your Price: $12.59 AUD, inc. GST
Shipping: $7.95 per order
You Save: $2.40! (16% off normal price)
Plus...earn $0.63 in Boomerang Bucks
Availability: Available In stock now, ships immediately

Songlines by Bruce Chatwin

Book Description

The songlines are the invisible pathways that criss-cross Australia, ancient tracks connecting communities and following ancient boundaries. Along these lines Aboriginals passed the songs which revealed the creation of the land and the secrets of its past. In this magical account, Chatwin recalls his travels across the length and breadth of Australia seeking to find the truth about the songs and unravel the mysteries of their stories.

Buy Songlines book by Bruce Chatwin from Australia's Online Bookstore, Boomerang Books.

Book Details

ISBN: 9780099769910
ISBN-10: 0099769913
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 19mm)
Pages: 304
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 28-Nov-1998
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions...

Books By Author Bruce Chatwin

Visit to Don Otavio by Bruce Chatwin Visit to Don Otavio, Paperback / softback (June 2016)

Originaly published: London: Gollancz, 1953.

Under The Sun by Bruce Chatwin Under The Sun, Paperback (September 2011)

Bruce Chatwin is one of the most significant British novelists and travel writers of our time. Comprising material collected from hundreds of contacts across five continents, this title includes Chatwin's letters that are a valuable record of one of the greatest and most enigmatic writers of the twentieth century.

Songlines by Bruce Chatwin Songlines, Paperback (May 2001)

Part adventure story, part philosophical essay, this extraordinary book takes Bruce Chatwin into the heart of Australia on a search for the source and meaning of man's restless nature.

» View all books by Bruce Chatwin


UK Kirkus Review » The author couldn't give an account of a trip to the shops without some fantastic embroidering of mundane reality. This blend of myth, observation and outright invention is less an account of Aboriginal mythology than an excuse for the author to let rip. Travel writing has never been the same. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » Chatwin, British author of books that blend travel, memoir, history, and philosophy (In Patagonia, The Viceroy of Ouidah), now goes to Alice Springs, Australia - for an investigation into Aboriginal culture, run-ins with assorted Aussies, and a fragmented meditation on larger anthropological issues. Chatwin's inquiry focuses on the Aboriginal "songlines": a labyrinth of invisible pathways which meander all over Australia, the routes taken (according to Creation myths) by legendary totemic beings as they sang the world into existence. Each clan has its own elaborate, largely secret story-song, linked to a particular animal-totem; and the "songlines," which include numerous sacred sites, give rise to complex taboos and rituals (e.g., the "walkabout"). So Chatwin mostly tags along with Arkady, son of Russian immigrants - a local "Do-Gooder" among the Aboriginals who's been hired by railway officialdom to help prevent the desecration of sacred sites (invisible to white eyes) during railway construction. And, in and around the Outback via Land Rover, there are encounters with a wide range of quirky sorts: unpleasant redneck racists (the ugly flip-side of Crocodile Dundee); Aboriginal artists in the totem genre, with their white agents (one zesty, one greedy); sophisticated Aboriginal activists, arguing land-claims against the Church and mine-owners; even a teen-age rock-group - part-Aboriginal - whose first big concert has to be scheduled around circumcision/initiation rites. Though individually fascinating, however, these vignettes never accumulate shape, drama, or even much weight. In the book's second half, in fact, the pokey narrative more or less fades away - as Chatwin offers almost 100-pp. worth of disjointed notes taken for a book on mankind's essential nomadic quality. There are quotations from Pascal, Buber, the Bible, Darwin, etc. There are anecdotes from Chatwin's travels in India, South Africa, Mauritania, Niger, Afghanistan, China, and London (lunch with a worldly panhandler). Chatwin muses on evolution and war, arguing - not very persuasively - that man's basic nature is migratory, defensive, not aggressive (contra K. Lorenz and others). And though this idealized view of nomadic life is also seen in the Aboriginals (who are sometimes romanticized), the interplay of theme and specific subject-matter is awkward, blurry, repetitious. The least satisfying of Chatwin's explorations, then, but occasionally provocative in its ambitious reach - and crisply, vividly engaging as long as it sticks to first-hand Australia reportage. (Kirkus Reviews)

» Have you read this book? We'd like to know what you think about it - write a review about Songlines book by Bruce Chatwin and you'll earn 50c in Boomerang Bucks loyalty dollars (you must be a member - it's free to sign up!)

Write a book review

Author Biography - Bruce Chatwin

Bruce Chatwin was born in Sheffield in 1940. After attending Marlborough School he began work as a porter at Sotheby's. Eight years later, having become one of Sotheby's youngest directors, he abandoned his job to pursue his passion for world travel. Between 1972 and 1975 he worked for the Sunday Times, before announcing his next departure in a telegram: 'Gone to Patagonia for six months.' This trip inspired the first of Chatwin's books, In Patagonia, which won the Hawthornden Prize and the E.M.Forster Award and launched his writing career. Two of his books have been made into feature films: The Viceroy of Ouidah (retitled Cobra Verde), directed by Werner Herzog, and Andrew Grieve's On the Black Hill. On publication The Songlines went straight to No.1 in the Sunday Times bestseller list and remained in the top ten for nine months. On the Black Hill won the Whitbread First Novel award while his novel Utz was nominated for the 1988 Booker prize. He died in January 1989, aged forty-eight.

Boomerang Bucks close

For every $20 you spend on books, you will receive $1 in Boomerang Bucks loyalty dollars. You can use your Boomerang Bucks as a credit towards a future purchase from Boomerang Books. Note that you must be a Member (free to sign up) and that conditions do apply.

Recent books by Bruce Chatwin close
Songlines: Moleskine Special Edition by Bruce Chatwin
Visit to Don Otavio by Bruce Chatwin
Under The Sun by Bruce Chatwin
Songlines by Bruce Chatwin
In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin
Utz by Bruce Chatwin
On the Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin
Viceroy of Ouidah by Bruce Chatwin
What am I Doing Here? by Bruce Chatwin
» close