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288 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1980
"The ranch itself was fantastic and uncanny perched out there in the middle of the oldest rocks in the world. And it was perhaps the cold desolate lovelessness of the place that threw into sharp focus the magical and life-affirming qualities of the country around it. To enter that country is to be choked with dust, suffocated by waves of thrumming heat, and driven to distraction by the ubiquitous Australian fly; it is to be amazed by space and humbled by the most ancient, bony, awesome landscape on the face of the earth. It is to discover the continent's mythological crucible, the great outback, the never-never, that decrepit desert land of infinite blue air and limitless power."
"One does not have to delve too deeply to discover why some of the world's angriest feminists breathed crisp blue Australian air during their formative years, before packing their kangaroo-skin bags and scurrying over to London or New York or any place where the antipodean machismo would fade gently from their battle-scarred consciousness like some grisly nightmare at dawn. Anyone who has worked in a men-only bar in Alice Springs will know what I mean."
"Trying to describe Aboriginal cosmology briefly is like trying to explain quantum mechanics in five seconds. Besides, no amount of anthropological detail can begin to convey Aboriginal feeling for their land. It is everything — their law, their ethics, their reason for existence. Without that relationship they become ghosts. Half people. They are not separate from the land. When they lose it, they lose themselves, their spirit, their culture. This is why the land rights movement has become so essential. Because, by denying them their land, we are committing cultural, and in this case, racial genocide."
...I honestly could not remember, or put into context, etiquette. Did it matter, I would think to myself, if all the buttons had gone from my shirt and trousers? Would anybody notice or care? And what about menstrual blood? From my position, it didn't matter a damn whether it followed the natural laws of gravity and ran down my leg, the way it was meant to do, but would others feel the same way?I was surprised to find the Davidson/ Chatwin/ Rushdie link (in a rather horribly paragraphed article here: https://m.ruralweekly.com.au/news/bru... ) - and from what I heard, Davidson was the cool person Chatwin got introduced to.