'Songlines' or 'Dreaming Tracks' are what all Europeans call the labyrinth of invisible pathways that meander all over Australia. To Aboriginals, they are the 'Footprints of the Ancestors'; they are both intricate sources of personal identity and territorial markers. From such ancient line, Bruce Chatwin has been able to trace a great deal about ...
'Songlines' or 'Dreaming Tracks' are what all Europeans call the labyrinth of invisible pathways that meander all over Australia. To Aboriginals, they are the 'Footprints of the Ancestors'; they are both intricate sources of personal identity and territorial markers. From such ancient line, Bruce Chatwin has been able to trace a great deal about an Aboriginal culture as complex as it is different from our own. The conflict between the two ways of life mirrors that within 'civilised' man himself. Disputes over the right to excavate land that is sacred to wandering tribes highlight the importance of myth and instinct in the human psyche. What might in other hands seem theatrically picaresque, Bruce Chatwin transforms into something approaching the scale of Greek tragedy...
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A fascinating trip into the esoteric world of the Australian aborigines....a people inextricably bound to the land and the mythologies that enables them to live in complete harmony with it.
On the surface, their way of thinking is difficult for the modern western mind to grasp, but once one melds into their ethos, one can begin to appreciate the innate wisdom contained therein.
This is not a book for the couch potato sitting in front of the television twenty-two hours each day. But for the seeker... the searcher for a new way to understand our earth and our connection to it, this book furnishes us a first-rate tour of one fascinating part of it.
Publishers Weekly, 1988-04-01 PW praised Chatwin's ``entertaining'' and ``resonant'' reflections on the distinctions between settled people and wanderers, and between human aggression and pacifism, as he searches central Australia for the pathways along which aborigines travel to perform their cultural activities. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1987-06-26 In his new book, Chatwin (In Patagonia, etc.) explores the area around Alice Springs, in central Australia, where he ponders the source and meaning of nomadism, the origins of human violence and the emergence of mankind amid arid conditions. Searching for ``Songlines''the invisible pathways along which aboriginal Australians travel to perform their central cultural activitiesChatwin is accompanied by Arkady Volchok, a native Australian and tireless bushwalker who is helping the aboriginals protect their sacred sites through the provisions of the Land Rights Act. Chatwin's description of his adventures in the bush forms the most entertaining part of the book, but he also includes long quotations from other writersanthropologists, biologists, even poets. These secondary materials provide a resonant backdrop for the author's reflections on the distinctions between settled people and wanderers, between human aggression and pacifism. First serial to the New York Review of Books. (August 17) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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