"I experienced that sinking feeling you get when you know you have conned yourself into doing something difficult and there's no going back."
So begins Robyn Davidson's perilous journey across 1,700 miles of hostile Australian desert to the sea, with only four camels and a dog for company. Enduring sweltering heat, fending off poisonous snakes and lecherous men, chasing her camels when they get skittish and nursing them when they are injured, Davidson emerges as an extraordinarily courageous heroine driven by a love of Australia's landscape, an empathy for its indigenous people, and a willingness to cast away the trappings of her former identity. Tracks is the compelling, candid story of her odyssey of discovery and transformation.
©1980, 2012 Robyn Davidson (P)2014 Audible Inc.
I enjoy biographies and personal memoirs because they offer a chance to see life through another's eyes. The reader gets to see a writer's version of their own truth based on their own personal perspective. The adventure depicted in Tracks becomes even more complex because the passage of time and history that has elapsed and been added to this mix. The adventure actually took place in 1977, it was an article in National Geographic magazine in 1979, a book in 1980, and now a movie and and audio recording in 2015. Quite a history.
The story itself was engaging, beautiful, overwrought, frustrating and at times self indulgent and self possessed. The stories about the treatment of animals--camels in particular and the aboriginal tribes of Australia were extremely difficult listening. The adventure was amazing. I listened hanging on each word, eager to hear about the next disaster, the next mix-up and the next near miss. To me, the author captured her alone time, her stepping outside of the world and into the wilds of nature wonderfully.
As a extra treat--when you are finished listening to the book look up Davidson's Facebook page and look at the photos of the journey. I am glad I waited to look because in hind site she really captured the world from the book in words. It looked just the way I thought it would--just the way she described it. Pretty great really--but be warned--tough listening ahead.
I am putting Tracks in my top five favorites. Robyn's spirit and passion for the adventure is only surpassed by her incredible clarity and beauty in her writing. I will probably listen or read this book every fall, when the darkness of the cloudy Pacific Northwest makes me yearn for the brightness of the dessert. She made me fall in love many times throughout the text, with camels, with solitude, with blue sky and dry dessert plants. But throughout her story is also the story of people finding contentment in being human and standing their ground against those who would dehumanized them. From her standing with gun in hand against rough men, to the aborigines who must stand against the intrusion of rough modern societies, this story so effortlessly spins such an intriguing tale that I found myself resenting having to pull my head out of the narrative to take care of my own daily needs and responsibilities.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
In 1977 Davidson in her 20s took her dog Diggity, four camels and set off across the 1700 miles of the Australian outback. Davidson starts her story in Alice Springs learning about camels. She obtains four camels called Dookie, Zelly, Bub and Goliath.
She wrote the story for the National Geographic Society that had helped subsidize the trip and paid for the photographer. Because the National Geographic provided the money she had to meet a photographer at various locations on her trip for photographs. The trip took seven months; she met interesting aboriginal people along the way.
Davidson describes how enjoyable and watchable the camels are. She writes beautifully of the majesty of the land. There is a great description of scenery such as “At times, the sand rolls on and on like an endlessly unfurling, magically variegated carpet that shifts from blood red to burnt sienna, pale pink and dung brown. At other times, it violently rises off the desert flood, swirling and churning into dusty whirlpools.”
The book is well written and is full of information and trivia such as the word whoosh means sit in Afghani. Davidson writes with an offbeat since of humor that makes the book a joy to read. Angie Milliken narrates the book.
The author's humility and honesty, her courage and deep connection to the landscape. Davidson's journey through it was extraordinarily difficult and yet she was one with it in revelatory moments, even those of loss and privation. And therein lies the magic of this work. Decades later reading it (listening to it), her words transported me to that liminal space between my world and hers, between urban and wild terrain, between the surface of things and the depths. SO much better and more significant than "Wild."
The book is filled with riveting moments both before and during her journey.
Gorgeous descriptions of the Australian bush Davidson traverses which listened to, rather than read, had the effect of slowing me down and allowing the landscape to come alive, vivid and beautiful in the mind.
I'd love to meet the author and share a cup of tea with her. She'd be a delightful friend, no doubt.
SciFi starter, Travel Adventure main course, RomCom pallet cleanser. I love to eat, read, travel, and sleep in hammocks.
I have already told several people about this book.
Robyn Davidson seems to understands human nature. She does an amazing job of explaining the troubles of the aboriginal people brought on by a government not their own. Her devotion to understanding an area and it's people so misunderstood was inspiring.
She seems deeply depressed at times, troubled by many things both internal and external. Her struggles are real and intense. This translates into a book that is at times emotionally difficult to get through but rewarding when completed. I learned a lot by reading this about myself and about how people work. That is one of the beautiful things about the way that Robyn writes, it's deeply personal but also universal. She is a strongly independent woman who undertakes a 9 month trek across an almost barren stretch of earth alone.
Because of the time this was done she was able to do it under the radar, unencumbered by the government and mostly left alone by news agencies. She mourned the loss of some control when National Geographic comes to take pictures and absolutely hates when they impose on the aboriginal people believing they are exploiting them and explaining in wonderful details as to why. Having grown up reading that magazine I have a whole new appreciation/understanding of it.
It is a beautiful story written by an intelligent woman. Overall I would give this book a 10/10 and I will definitely be reading this again.
I'm currently listening to Tales of a Female Nomad. Several themes seem to reoccur in both novels
1- People are not as scary as we believe them to be, or are told they are.
2- We have much more courage and bravery inside of us than we realize. We have the ability to do things that would amaze other people if only we wanted to.
3- It is both easier and harder to connect to each other than we realize, both out in the world and at home. We are only as connected to each other as we try to be.
Odd, breathy, pauses.
She takes odd pauses that I found broke my concentration. I loved the story and her voice but I didn't love her delivery.
This is a tough listen, always interesting but often brutally depressing despite the author's amazing achievement. Being alone in the desert is a wonderful thing, but the emphasis of the book is on how gruellingly difficult, painful, frustrating and damned expensive it is to get to that state. Davidson pulls no punches in describing the cruelty inherent in camel-training, the indignities inflicted upon Aborigines, the tedious compromises necessary to fund an expedition, and the painful things that the desert can do to the human body. There are moments of lyrical beauty in her descriptions of the fantastic landscapes of Australia, and the community spirit of the Aborigines, but they're frequently followed by horror and misery. Overall, this is an amazing book but an exhausting experience.
The reader is perfect.
Didn't feel genuine. She mentioned not wanting attention, but she did so many things to get attention, including writing this book. She mentioned her love for animals, but admits to treating them poorly a few times and that was with her controlling the narrative, so I just assume she was worse than she leads us to believe. She also came across as very unappreciative of everyone that helped her on her journey. So I am judging the person and that is why I didn't like the book. I will say it was written well and the performance by the reader was solid
Fascinating read of Robyn's journey and her experiences in the wilds of Australia. I admire her and loved the beautiful images she described with honesty and skill. Good on ya, Robyn.
I was assigned this book for my sophomore English class in college. It's truly a remarkable story, some parts are a bit slow but overall they serve the purpose of the book.
I adore this book. I first saw the movie Tracks on the recommendation of a friend. I had never heard of Robyn Davidson or her story before. I love the movie and knew I had to read her book. As a 23 year old woman, I think I found an especially deep connection to Robyn's story; she undertook this journey when she was only 27. The book is about so much more than her journey in the dessert. It touches on feminism, human rights, and finding one's place in the world. I found myself wanting to be friends with Robyn throughout the book.
Angie Milliken's narration is also excellent. I loved the Australian accent and how she perfectly placed emphasis in the right moments.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone.
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