I just finished re-reading “The Songlines“. Having only read that, Utz, and The Viceroy of Ouidah, I may venture to say I think Bruce Chatwin is one of the greatest writers I have ever read.
He has a reputation for not accurately representing real people or events. This is of no consequence to me. It’s the author’s impressions that make stories interesting in the first place.
The first time I read “The Songlines”, I never finished the 2nd part. Mostly because he just started transcribing parts of his diary, which I didn’t much like. However, on the second go, I kept remarking to myself “This book is so fucking good.”. Maybe it’s because I was reading it in Australia. Maybe it’s because he is an amazing writer. I don’t know. But I want to tell everyone I know and everyone I meet about this book.
I hate Paul Theroux, and most other travel writers, because I find them unbearably self conscience and on occasions, misogynistic. While Chatwin does tends toward borderline hyper self-conscience, I appreciate his descriptions of women, and people in general, as a woman myself.
I think there must be some connection with this, and his homosexuality. His books aren’t outright “gay”, but are written with more compassion than most books by male authors, I would say.
Basically, I really like “The Songlines”.
Anyway, I leaving Australia tomorrow. I have done quite a lot while in this country. Including:
Visiting Uluru, Alice Springs, camping under the stars
Swimming in the Ocean
Walking in the Blue Mountains
Visiting the Powerhouse Museum and the Maritime Museum, in Sydney
Walking around the Opera House and the Botanical Gardens
Seeing the Harbour Bridge
Going to Canberra
Visiting the National Library, the Old Parliment House, The National Museum of Australia.
Going to Tidbinbilla National park, seeing kangaroos, and a koala.
Walking around a mountain in Canberra
Eating a steak
Drinking beer and wine
Watching the “Australia” movie
and so much more!