GREATER NOWHERES: A Journey Through the Australian Bush by Dave & Jack London Finkelstein

GREATER NOWHERES: A Journey Through the Australian Bush

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In their introduction, the authors report that they duped (their word) a couple of magazine editors into sending them to Australia in the belief that they would produce serious articles on wildlife. On their return, they apparently duped their publisher into thinking they had written a travel book. This is a lackluster and clichÉ-ridden recounting of a trip through remote areas of western and northern Australia. One gets little sense of the landscape from the authors' prosy jottings, and even less of the society it harbors, as Finkelstein and London employ a reportorial technique similar to that used by Charles Kuralt in his ""On the Road"" television features. They seek out the oddest character in some tiny town and then let him/her ramble on about former occupations, ex-spouses, and the like. (Yet the authors seem to have no ear for Australian speech, apart from a few obvious expressions such as ""mate"" and ""dinkum."") Then we are told how many beers everybody drank at that particular stop. Moreover, the authors nearly miss the few diamonds to concentrate on the rough. For instance, in Perth they met Mary Durack, probably one of the most fascinating people in Australia. Daughter of a legendary family that once ran an 11-million-acre property in Queensland, Durack has been a rancher, novelist, playwright, and historian. Only two paragraphs are offered on the meeting with her--and those concern her ancestors' keen interest in the American West. Repetitive frontier yarns and a paucity of useful resource information make this an armchair-trip not worth taking.

Pub Date: May 25th, 1988
Publisher: Harper & Row