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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Where Chatwin is really at his best is in carefully crafted miniature stories, such as those having to do with his dealings with Aborigines artists, art dealers and their clients. Chatwin never claimed that his work was true.

I am a horrible reader sometimes. The problem is I find Chatwin maddeningly meandering and unreliable. Songilnes book, devoted to the latter, is a brilliant evocation of this profound optimism: Later works included a novel based on the slave trade, The Viceroy of Ouidahwhich he researched with extended stays in Benin, West Africa.

Footprints of the Ancestors

He had agreed to travel with Chatwin and act as intermediary with members of the Aborigines that they might encounter on the quest. Despite the title this isn’t really a book about the Australian outback, it is another book about Bruce Chatwin.

Chatwin invests everything in this moving account of his research into the Songlines of Australia. Still, The Songlines is an excellent contribution to the ethnographic record of Australia’s native people. If I was to give this book a rating today it would be a very low one, but songpines my reasons for this could justify rating it very highly as well view spoiler [ but since I don’t rate books on the whole this is neither here nor there hide spoiler ]. That’s Shit Dreaming,” the guide replies and breaks into hysterical laughter.

The Songlines

Oddly enough, there are no close brushes with death in The Songlines, which I can only assume was an oversight. He then goes on to describe the sufferings of a bird, penned up at the season of its migration, which would flail its wings and bloody its breast against the bars of its cage. The timeline of Chatwin’s experiences was scattered, so it was sometimes hard to keep track chztwin all the people and their stories. Nov songlinss, Joseph Mckenna rated it it was amazing.


The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin

Bruce Chatwin is all around, and his seemingly easy way to gain the confidence of the Aboriginals wasn’t really credible to me. This book took me outside of my normal travel read parameters because I’ve never been to Australia so I have no basis for comparison. Languages Deutsch Italiano Edit links. Chatwin further argues that man’s defining event is his victory, using only his brain, over the deadly predators that stalked our species during most of our history.

In line with the rest of his life while dying of AIDS he claimed that the symptoms he was suffering from were in fact the result of being bitten by a Chinese bat. This page was last edited on 21 Novemberat Not a conventional travel book by any means as Chatwin combines observations with philosophy, spirituality and dialogue while contemplating the nature of travel and mans desire to move around in a landscape which is increasingly more determined to ensure that we are sedentary.

The Songlines is a beautiful meditation on the importance of travel to knowledge and culture. The door in is that the “Bruce” of the book may or may not be the Bruce who is writing. T The Songlines is, on the surface, an auto-biographical travel narrative.

Both books scattered, personal and flawed, but the testaments of inquiring minds. Our wanderings spread “songlines” across the globe generally from southwest to northeasteventually reaching Australia, where they are now preserved in the world’s oldest living culture.

Dec 20, Trevor rated it really liked it Shelves: Also, I was puzzled by the inclusion of all the fragmentary pieces from the author’s old notebooks.

And of course it doesn’t help when you read in other reviews that he had the habit of inventing some of the stuff he wrote about also in other books.

View all 9 comments. He was fascinated by the idea of songlines around the world that tell the story of the land, and he wrote this book as a fiction, but using his own name as the narrator. And the book continues what appears soglines be his life-long thesis: And this brings me back round to The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin. InChatwin interviewed the year-old architect and designer Eileen Gray in her Paris salon, where he noticed a map of the area of South America called Patagonia, chatwon she had painted.

While Chatwin repeatedly engages in pop-anthropology of dubious quality, he displays a breadth of imagination and a willingness to share it with the reader.

Once phrase would say, ‘salt-pan’; another ‘creek-bed’, ‘spinifex, sandhill, mulga scrub, rockface and so forth. Chatwin combines evidence from Aboriginal culture with modern ideas on human evolution, and argues that songlinea the African Savannahwe were a migratory species hunted by a dominant feline predator.


He never really pulls his theories together.

The migration itself, like the pilgrimage, is the hard journey: Regardless of the words, it seems the melodic contour of the song describes the nature of the land over which the song passes. Charles Bruce Chatwin was an English novelist and travel writer.

Quotes from The Songlines.

I should set down on paper a resume of the ideas, quotations and encounters which had amused and obsessed me; and which I hoped would shed light on what is, for me, the question of questions: People who don’t live in Australia think it is a smaller place than it actually is – it is actually as big as the USA without Alaska.

Our narrator, Bruce, teams up with Arkady Volchok, a young man of Russian background who is working in the various remote, hot Aboriginal communities, where he knows and is trusted by the people and their families. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Chatwin carried his notes in moleskin notebooks, and considered them more precious than his passport.

According to Wikipedia, he was not a man with a reputation for songines adherence to boring facts chatain there was a better story to be had by using some creative license. And here I must take a leap into faith: However, most of the book is not about the songlines, but about Chatwin himself, eating and drinking with Australians, most of which have nothing to do with the Aborigines and their plight.

Different members of the same family can belong to different clans, so these are not clans in the conventional tribal sense. As I came to understand the concept, I was moved The wandering words of a wandering writer.

This article songlinrs written like a personal reflection, personal essay, or argumentative essay that states a Wikipedia editor’s personal feelings or presents an original argument about a topic.

Published June 1st by Penguin first published Discussions with Australians, many of them Indigenous Australiansyield insights into Outback culture, Aboriginal culture and religion, and the Aboriginal land rights songlinss.