©2000 Bill Bryson; (P)Audible, Inc.
It would have been much better, for me at least, if the book had been narrated by Bill Bryson himself, who has a delightful narration style and voice, or at least an Australian with an Aussie accent.
For one thing Australian pronunciations and stresses are, in many cases, a lot different from those practised by Americans (citizens of the USA)
This is not intended as 'Yankee Bashing' but a simple statement of fact. To hear some of the mis-pronunciations is at best laughable -------- at worst off putting.
Bill Bryson is definitely a gifted story teller. It was such a shame he wasn't the narrator as I feel Roberts didn't do the book justice. As an Australian I cringed at his poor Aussie accent and his inability to correctly pronounce many words but none more so than Uluru. Of course I'll buy more of Bryson's books, but not the audible version (especially if William Roberts is the narrator).
The content of the book is about spot on for what a visitor to Australia should expect and experience. Some of the information is a little dated (written in 1999) but is generally still quite relevant.
There is a lot of information in the book that many natives will not know or have forgotten.
The reading of it is a joke. It is clear that the only Australian that William Roberts has actually heard is from Crocodile Dundee. The accents for men, women and children, some characters of whom are well educated and respected people are all the stereotypical drawl that borders on offensive.
A great book heavily marred by the reading.
Thanks Bill for a wonderful account of your travels and thank you William for your great narration. I think this author and narrator are the perfect match. While some of my fellow Aussies might grumble at the mispronunciation of some of people and places - I don't mind. It adds to the charm of the book. Besides, who is to say who's right or wrong...? Keep up the great work and thank you again!
All-round great, but some inaccuracies, and the narrator's Australian accent sounded more like a Brooklyn accent at times. And, strangely, all Australians sounded almost identical. But it was part of the charm.
Very disappointed that it finished! I look forward to his next Australian sojourn novel! I was reaĺly hoping he would experience The Kimberley and Tasmania as well!
I had already read this classic long time ago. This time I listened to the audio book as I took a small road trip in Victoria.
Narrator did a splendid job in my opinion. It made such a difference.
I thoroughly enjoyed it.
As an Australia i'm glad I picked up this book, Bill has a real outsiders view which gives him a different perspective then I would have . He goes to such interesting places and is so inquisitive that you learn about places you have even been to yourself, or find out about places and stories you have never heard of.
I think the book is quite old now but a lot of the stories in the book are timeless.
Well worth a listen for anyone from anywhere in the world !
Being an Australian I was curious and interested in this book. I did not disappoint. I read other books in between to break up the different areas.
"A safe bet!"
I was first introduced to Bill Bryson, and first read Down Under during a 2 year holiday in the UK (I am Australian). It has been a long time since then and I thought this would be a great book to revisit and to cut my teeth on Audible as a new subscriber. The book was a great laugh and Bill portrays Australians and Australia in a way that makes me want to go there! :)
Very funny,entertaining , please Bill stay with an American accent, your Australian could cause a diplomatic incident, loved the book
"Got it Right Mate"
This is an extremely insightful, very funny journey through a magnificent continent. Bryson captures the essence of the Australian landscape and the characters that make it a singularly extraordinary place to travel and live. I acknowledge his outstanding penmanship and appreciate his honest humour and natural affinity for all that is quirky. Well read and captivating. Well done.
"Bryson Books Need Bryson Narration"
I love Bill Bryson's writing, really I do. His books, audiobooks included, are some of my favourite and most revisited. And Down Under is a great book that is wholly ruined by the narrator, a whiny, pinch-voiced man who manages to take Bryson's wit and give it an air of smugness, sometimes bordering on spite. I don't know if I just despised the narrator because he was awful or because he was so utterly unsuitable to read Bryson. It doesn't help that he attempts accents and can't do them, making both English and Australian voices grating and high-pitched.
Honestly, the narrator ruins the book, but if you want this or several of Bryson's other, earlier, books, then this is the standard you get. I loathe abridged books but at least they're read by the man himself.
As all Bill Bryson books I have read so far this is full of interesting facts that show the countries good and bad points in detail.
His time spent on the Barrier Reef
His diction and clearity of voice
Just pure interest
Looking forward to listening to his other books having read most already
"Bryson and Roberts - a match made in Heaven"
Sublime. Wonderful. Superb.
Thew combination of Bryson's wit and Robert's talent.
Yes!!! This is perhaps the best - his Australian accent is superb!!
Yes - again and again!
Bryson and Roberts in combination are perfect! As sad as I am to have read the last of the Bryson/Roberts works, I am so pleased I can hear them again and again when I need reminding that the world is a grand and wonderful place!
"A first Bill Bryson for me"
The story itself held little appeal to me however the viewpoint of Australia from another culture sold me. Bryson does well to make a rather boring story into a mostly entertaining listen.
Is it so through and so well written
He is good. I mean realy GOOD !!!
No, no extreme reaction but fun all the way and yes my tear was flowing by laughter.
"Making history easier for all"
I listened to this after being recommended to me, it told me more about Australia than I learned in school back n England. I think this should be oven to every migrant. Or at least a migrant book Like it as it would be less dry than official books.
Plenty, but especially Eureka stockade
Notes from a small island which is a perfect companion
Very enjoyable, listen to this to give you some detail of the history of OZ but also about he people and places and then make that book you first step to more on Australia
"Surprise! It's Australia"
I spend as much time as I can reading or knitting. The audio version of the book allows me to do both.
Although only a very small part, the ranger from the Alpine National Park and his observation of how lucky he is, was my favourite.
If I could have sat and listened all at one I would have. I love the observations, anecdotes and historic references the author uses to tie it all together.
It is a great book. Bryson loves lists, there are lots of lists. He likes characters, Australia is full of them. He has a great sense of humour, Australians love to laugh (although sometimes at the expense of others). His observations of the behaviour, language and ritual made me (an Australian) nod and agree. There is so much information and Bryson visits a lot of places but his pattern of travel often makes no sense. You can't get from Adelaide to the Mornington Peninsula without going through Melbourne. And he missed Geelong!
Bill Bryson is witty, entertaining and thought-provoking and this book is all of those. It's easy to read, makes you laugh out loud and gets the grey matter working. I am from Down Under and it was fun hearing about Australia from a foreigner's perspective. I would thoroughly recommend it.
"Awful accent - buy the author-narrated version"
Either an Australian narrator, or the American not attempt a dreadful accent
Bryson's writing is superb
His 'Australian' accent
The story is great, the performance is dreadful
Buy the version ('In a sunburned country') that's narrated by Bryson himself instead!
"Excellent - makes you want to go down under"
Just finsihed down under and thoroughly enjoyed Bryson's travelogue with random facts and bemusing anecdotes. The narrator is fantastic.
"Delightful and informative as always"
This Bryson travelogue was quite different for me since, being Australian, I could compare his acute observations with my own experience of many years.
Bryson's considerations are interesting though necessarily limited and I entertained with great affection William Roberts's numerous and resonant mispronunciations of Australian towns.
I love Bryson's humour and his humanity, noting both the sometimes ghastly foibles of behaviour and our deep sins as a culture.
I will now listen to any Bryson works that I may somehow have missed.
"Perfect roadtrip activity"
We listened to this during our own roadtrip around Australia, which made it a really great listening experience as places we had just been to (or were headed to) were described to us in a light-handed yet informative manner.
Another great book from Bryson, and William Roberts is by far the best narrator.
Download it now won't be disappointed!!
"Bryson at his best"
I've never been to Oz but I want to go now! This is Bryson at his best, great observation, brilliantly descriptive and as funny as ever.
"Great book, Shoot the narrator."
Very enjoyable script, but the attempts at accents, Yorkshire and pivotally Australian of which the narrator clearly has no knowledge leaves you leaping for the fast forward button.
He truly is excruciating, an excellent book ruined
"Go down under with Bill Bryson"
Bill Bryson’s style of writing is quiet and understated. He draws you in so that you find yourself travelling with him and enjoying his insights into the lives of others from a mid Atlantic perspective. He includes a lot of factual information about the country and his understanding of the Australian psyche. I especially enjoyed his interpretation of the game of cricket and the story of house building in Melbourne. So if you do not want to go to all the trouble of having to travel to Australia yourself then sit back and let Bill Bryson take you there instead.
"A travel book you'll enjoy even if you've been."
Best praise for a travel book is I lived in or visited many of the places in this book and its wonderfully evocative of the country and its people. Nothing extraordinary really happens, but Australia comes across here as most extraordinary. Really well narrated. Sorry it had to end.
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