Walkabout

Walkabout

3.7 20
by James Vance Marshall
     
 

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A plane crashes in the vast Northern Territory of Australia, and the only survivors are two children from Charleston, South Carolina, on their way to visit their uncle in Adelaide. Mary and her younger brother, Peter, set out on foot, lost in the vast, hot Australian outback. They are saved by a chance meeting with an unnamed Aboriginal boy on walkabout. He looks

Overview

A plane crashes in the vast Northern Territory of Australia, and the only survivors are two children from Charleston, South Carolina, on their way to visit their uncle in Adelaide. Mary and her younger brother, Peter, set out on foot, lost in the vast, hot Australian outback. They are saved by a chance meeting with an unnamed Aboriginal boy on walkabout. He looks after the two strange white children and shows them how to find food and water in the wilderness, and yet, for all that, Mary is filled with distrust.

On the surface Walkabout is an adventure story, but darker themes lie beneath. Peter’s innocent friendship with the boy met in the desert throws into relief Mary’s half-adult anxieties, and the book as a whole raises questions about what is lost—and may be saved—when different worlds meet. And in reading Marshall’s extraordinary evocations of the beautiful yet forbidding landscape of the Australian desert, perhaps the most striking presence of all in this small, perfect book, we realize that this tale—a deep yet disturbing story in the spirit of Adalbert Stifter’s Rock Crystal and Richard Hughes’s A High Wind in Jamaica—is also a reckoning with the mysteriously regenerative powers of death.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A haunting little idyl in the same vein as A High Wind in Jamaica and Green Mansions tells of two children, a boy and a girl, sole survivors of a plane crash in the Australian bush. Their fragile veneer of modern culture clashes with the primitive soul of a black bush boy who is making his tribal ‘walkabout’ –a half-year’s solitary journey in the wilderness to test his fitness to be a member of his tribe.” —Time

“A small classic, pared down to the bare bones. Many will not only enjoy it, but long remember it.” —New York Times
 

“[Walkabout] is to Australians what Robinson Crusoe is to the English.” —The Philadelphia Enquirer
 
“[Walkabout] is pared down to its bare bones, like the ancient life in the desert, but if it is simple, it is not oversimplified, and it does not hesitate to face, honestly and unsentimentally, the questions it raises. . . . There will be many who not only enjoy it, but long remember it.”
—Elizabeth Janeway, The New York Times

A “much-acclaimed novel set in the Australian Outback” —Publishers Weekly
 
“This is a choice little tale which will have devoted admirers. It discloses a rare beauty of human relationship among three children in a strange predicament on the crust of the earth.” —Newsweek
 
An “Australian-outback classic” —Booklist
 
“Very tender, very touching, and sketched out with no sign of strain. The descriptions of the Australian bush are first-rate.” —New Statesman (London)
 
“A deeply-felt book, filled with information about desert flora and fauna.” —Times Literary Supplement (London)
 
“A sensitive and restrained tale which implies some pointed truths about the values of our civilization . . .” —The Critic
 
“Marshall is one of Australia’s greatest unsung, unread, and unappreciated writers. He wrote all his life in an innocent, simple, colloquial style. His stories were fables straight from the Australian earth.” —Herald

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590175057
Publisher:
New York Review Books
Publication date:
01/17/2012
Series:
New York Review Books Classics Series
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
524,816
File size:
225 KB

Meet the Author

James Vance Marshall is the pseudonym of Donald Payne (b. 1924). Only half a dozen Marshall novels have appeared in the last fifty years but they have sold several million copies and been translated into seventeen languages. Two, including Walkabout, have been made into films.

Walkabout is a work of collaboration between Donald Payne and the Australian James Vance Marshall (1887–1964). Marshall spent much of his life in the outback of Australia—a part of the world he knew intimately and loved deeply. He wrote a series of articles about the people, flora, and fauna of the outback, and with his permission, Payne used these articles as background for their novel Walkabout.

Subsequently, and with the consent of Marshall’s son, Payne continued to publish under the pseudonym Marshall; his most recent book is Stories from the Billabong (2008), a collection of Aboriginal legends retold as stories for children.

Lee Siegel is the author of four books, including Against the Machine: How the Web Is Reshaping Culture and Commerce—and Why It Matters and Are You Serious: How to Be True and Get Real in the Age of Silly. He has written essays and reviews for many publications, including Harper’s Magazine, The New Republic, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Times. In 2002, he received the National Magazine Award for Reviews and Criticism.

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Walkabout 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When i read the book i was in love with this novel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book took me about one week to read. This book had some incredible characters, named Mary, Peter, and Bush Boy. This is a true story and I cannot believe that any one could go on a journey like this and live. Walkabout is a walking adventure of six months led by Bush Boy that he took as a step toward manhood. Mary, and Peter are modern school children, defenseless in the wilderness of the Australian Outback, hundreds of miles from one a city. They are forced to undergo a walkabout on their own with the help of Bush Boy. Communicating without words, the small people drift through rich green jungles, across the plains, and swim in dangerous rivers. They had to eat Kiwi, grapefruit and, Quondong a food the size of ping-pong balls. They form a deep friendship with the dark boy, which helps them survive. I didn¿t like this book. I found it boring. I like action books and this is a slow book about nature. I did not like the ending where they lie about Bush Boy. I did like the part where bush Boy says he was ready to take the journey to become a man. People whom like nature and journey type books should read Walkabout. It doesn¿t work for guys who are sixteen maybe I would like it better when I get older. I do not think girls would like this either because there is no romance in it. I am glad that we don¿t have to do dumb stuff like this to become a man.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Walkabout is a very interesting book. It was very descriptive, it had very good details. Everything you needed to know about the characters, you found out. Two kids, a brother and a sister, were lost after a plane crash in Australia. They were hungry, and scared. The next day, they started to walk in the hot desert. They wanted to go to where their uncle was: Adelaide. Even though they did not know what way Adelaide was, they were hoping to find someone who could help them. The story continues with the two kids lost in Australia with nothing to eat. Until thy find some fruit but that is not the only thing they find. Behind them was a boy behind a bush naked and looking at them for a while. Even though they did not understand each other, the bush boy managed to find out that they were hungry and thirsty. The bush boy was out in the desert alone because he was going to become a man. even though he was supposed to be on his own, he decided to help the two defenseless children. AS the story goes on, the bush boy helps the two kids find their way to their uncle¿s home. as that goes on, peter catches a cold and gets very tired It makes it harder for all of them to travel. So then there is some thing else that complicates the story and that is that the bush boy gets the cold from peter. And once again the journey gets harder for the three children. The book is very interesting and enjoyable it describes the characters and every thing that the author wants described very well. The author does not leave anything out. Even though I had to start over one time, I enjoyed reading this book very much.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is very interesting. It can be read to kids but the vocabulary might not be useful for kids under twelve years. It took about a week or two but it¿s a good book. It wasn¿t a waste of my time. It was a good book. It¿s amazing how a sister named Mary and brother Peter with a friend they called him little bush boy make it through the Australia desert. The journey they go through is crazy but they have to survive. It was crazy how they met that bush boy and he decided to stay with them. He didn¿t have to stay and because of his tribe said to go somewhere to retrieve something for their survival, he risked his exile from his tribe and it takes a lot of guts to do that. Mary also rejects him. His tribe¿s religion dictates that he can¿t go back to his tribe because they won¿t accept him for living with them. He tries to go commit suicide but they stop him from doing it. He also took them home. He kept his word. I liked how they worked together for survival and they stuck together on every thing that came their way. This book is an eight out of ten and trust me it¿s worth it. It¿s not going to be a waste of anybody¿s time. If you like thinking of what is going to happen then this book is for you. I believe that in one of the chapters that there was a creature. I¿m not sure what it was. I think it was a hog and it was near were Mary was and when she wakes up the creature ran away. Also Peter gets real close to the bush boy and gives him one of his toys, a red toy soldier, and Mary is having mixed feelings for the bush boy. The book is boring sometimes and there might be parts of the book you might not understand so I hope you do read this book. Trust me you will like the book Walkabout. Written by James Vance Marshall.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading it at first as the aborigines are a very interesting civilization. Of course now we are writing numerous essays on it, my thoughts are somewhat changing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Walkabout was very diskriptive book. It has strong wording and good information through out the book. the book also tells you alot about the Austrailian Desert and the Aberiganys.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was very good and had very descriptive details, so you actually feel like you're right in Australia with them!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book was good. It was very interesting with many twists.You can tell this book is good by the way it starts.
Guest More than 1 year ago
WOW! I think this was an exelent book and they should make another one it was so interesting to me and I enjoyed the whole way through! I loved it!!! And today is my B-day so I got a great present!
Guest More than 1 year ago
tHIS BOOK WAS INTERESTING. It is about two kids---a 13year white girl and a 8year old white boy. Their plane crash in a desert. They are stranded and they find a black boy. The black boy helps them. But the black boy dies. Mary, the 13year old learns things about the bush boy and forgives him for everything. The boy,on the other hand, has built a good friendship with the black boy. At the end, I am confused, they meet some people who tell them where they are headed to. But u never know if the actually met Uncle Keith.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is very educational about the australian outback, but, it is not very exciting. Nothing Amazing happens. Plus it doesn't really tell you much about how the children got there and if they were saved. It Was an okay book. You will like it if you want to learn about the outback.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book, was very confusing and it either had to much detail or to little detail. i would definetly not recomend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book would have been much better if the climax wasnt so sudden. As the reader, I felt the ending was abrupt. Over all I wasnt impressed with the book because I expected much more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book posseses an excellent plot but lacks the pages to fully exploit it. The conflict and conclusion are scrunched together during the last twenty pages of the book. Ideally Walkabout should be about 500 pages long. This would allow the author more room to work with. In short, this 'novel' is really only a short story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For my 8th grade social studies class we had to read this book during our Australia unit. It was a pretty interesting book-it was cool to learn about the native people to Australia and how harsh the desert really is! But mostly about the people you can trust to pull you through the bad time I think.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In our 8th grade class we had to read walkabout for a project, and it was worth it, that book really set an example for all of us in my class about how to treat someone for their heart and not their appearance
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is different with twists but good buy it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mary and Peter, mordern school children, who defenseless, they plane get exploxed, they both get lost in Australian Desert alone, until both sister and brother meets an Aborigine who was walking, which their tribe calls it 'WALKABOUT', means, in Aborigine's age when they reach 12 or 13, they have to prove man like test to walk half of the world withtin 8 months, without anyone helping the person. So the both children were helped to survive by the bush boy, then later on the bush boy dies, which i didn't thought would happen. And Peter and mary had to survive alone, hopeless, to get home.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this was a good book because the author used direct characterization so it made you the reader understand more about the characters as you read the story, rather than reading the story and having no clue what the characters are like. I also admired the way the author described the setting, he did so in a way that you can actually visualize where the story took place it also made me understand the story better. Overall it was a good book and I would recomed it to anyone.