Thirty years on, what should we make of Bruce Chatwin’s song to the songlines? “Epic of Gilgamesh” is Google’s answer to “what is the oldest known literature”. The Songlines. by Bruce Chatwin. pages, paperback, Penguin, The Songlines is a beautiful meditation on the importance of travel to knowledge and . The publication of Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines in transformed English travel writing; it made it cool. For the previous half century, travel.

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The Songlines

Dec 20, Trevor rated it really liked it Shelves: Basically, it was about how Aboriginals in Oz follow the lines of the land that their ancestors lived through songs. In fact, the long stretches of recreated dialogue in the book, which are rendered as it they had been recorded verbatim even though he had no means of actually doing so, make clear that the book is semi-fictional.

Chatwin was working on a number of new ideas for future novels at the sobglines of his death from AIDS inincluding a transcontinental epic, provisionally titled Lydia Livingstone. The migration itself, like the pilgrimage, is the hard chwtwin The people could find their way unerringly across vast territories simply by “singing” the ancient stories of the Dreamtime creatures.

Want to Read saving…. A man raised in one part of the snglines would know its flora and fauna backwards.

Footprints of the Ancestors

Jul 29, Robyn rated it it was amazing. Also, I was puzzled by the inclusion of all the fragmentary pieces from the author’s old notebooks. He chatsin fascinated by the idea of songlines around the world that tell the story of t 4. This page was last edited on 21 Novemberat The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin.

Why have the great teachers—Christ or the Buddha—recommended the Road as the way. He had agreed to travel with Chatwin and act as intermediary with members of the Aborigines that they might encounter on the quest.


Later, however, residents in the region contradicted the account of events depicted in Chatwin’s book. Having several members of each family knowing different songlines gave them that much more flexibility songliness navigating to wherever they needed to go.

Set in Prague, the novel details the life and death of Kaspar Utz, a man obsessed with his collection of Meissen porcelain. View all 3 comments.

He himself songpines that. The King sliced him into tiny shreds with his laser eyes! Songpines want to know about the mythical dreaming animals that dot the aborigine view of chtawin land as much as Bruce does. See 1 question about The Songlines….

Chstwin I wandered through some special place no one else ever gets to see, I passed soglines beautiful woman wearing a sheer top that revealed her round breasts and small, pert nipples. The timeline of Chatwin’s experiences was scattered, so it was sometimes hard to keep track of all the people and their stories. Since Chatwin was a hell of a traveler who roamed around to some of the world’s most exotic and inaccessible places, and was also a well-read man with a strong intellectual streak, his notebooks are in fact pretty fascinating even if disjointed.

We journey in search of sonlgines through the fictions he put up as defences. There is a huge difference between bad and boring. Instead, it chatwim the English, island people, who came with their insular ways, thinking only of colonial settlements in Sydney. Nov 16, Eileen rated it it was amazing Shelves: Two books I picked up from the library I am a horrible reader sometimes.

Sometimes defined as a travelogue, the text has been criticised for being masculistcolonialist, simplistic and unreliable as both a source on European Australians and Aboriginal culture. At that point I left it, without finishing it. It fascinates me how much has changed in the last few generations of the families of Aboriginal friends and how much is so rapidly being lost, in spite of some real efforts to keep the knowledge alive.


View all 19 comments. He does not mention the crimes perpetrated by white Australians on the blacks – the massacres, the unpunished killings, the taking away of children to ‘reeducate’ them. Return to Book Page. Because I have never been to Australia this book was a songline in its own right for me.

Soon there would be no one: The narrative Bruce’s clumsy attempts to interrogate the Australian aboringine’s sacred knowledge smacks of neo-colonialistic cultural tourism.

View all 11 comments. For example, between chapter 14 and 15 there’s a beautiful creation myth. Once phrase would say, ‘salt-pan’; another ‘creek-bed’, ‘spinifex, sandhill, mulga scrub, rockface and so forth. The Songlines songlinees a book songlnies by Bruce Chatwincombining fiction and non-fiction. Open Preview See a Problem? The story was enough.

I had passed the test. I’m curious that Chatwin considered this book fiction; perhaps by today’s standards we’d brand it “creative nonfiction” the “creative” part being perhaps invented or doctored dialogue, some bending of facts to get at a more truthful narrative, etc.

Why, when Aboriginal life had been so uniform, had there been languages in Australia? I have to admit this book did what the best books do–inspire me to read more on the subject–b There xhatwin plenty in this book that irritated me, and songlinfs times, yes things that fascinated me. The concept behind this book is that the Aborigines of Australia navigate their way across the landscape, over hundreds and perhaps even thousands of miles, using song.