"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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I loved Wild so I was looking for another "woman on a journey" book. Her spirit is inspiring. It made me feel like I could go on a crazy adventure too.
Say something about yourself!
The book(Audio book by Audible) was okay. It was slow moving. I found myself wishing it was over so I could move on to another audio book. It did have a nice message at the end of the story about following your dreams, but that's about it.
The journey itself was not that remarkable as the author had plenty of help and support along the way. And as Robyn herself points out, if the exact same feat had been done by a man, it wouldn't have been newsworthy. I read a lot of real life survival stories, and on a scale of 1 -10, this one is about a 2. Still, the book was entertaining for its insights about the the people who inhabited the remote, god forsaken yet beautiful Australian desert in the 1970's - both white and aboriginal . And let's not forget the camels. Everything you thought you didn't care to know about training, caring for, and living with camels. Perhaps the most entertaining aspect of the book is Robyn's relationship with her camels, which believe me is no simple love story. Robyn doesn't spare the rod on her camels or herself.
I virtually left, civilization, and lived in a large tent, in the bush for 3.5 years --going North, in summer, & South, in winter. Never, was there a better time, in my life. My dog & I had it made. At that time, I had been injured, & was walking with a cane. It was wonderful rehab, for me, recommended by my doctor. I cut & split my own wood, carried my own water. This book reminded me of my experiences, though I travelled the USA, not, Australia. I will, most probably, listen again, one day.
I believe that this is the only book, narrated by Angie, thought I'd really hope there will be, more! She has a wonderful, style. I absolutely LOVED her accent.
The death of her dog, was tragic. I lost my dog in a tragic way, as well. I shed tears, for her dog, unashamedly. "The greatest gift, was dogs." I currently live with my 11-yr-old, Poodle.
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