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Albert of Adelaide
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Danny (danbrarian) | 74 comments Mod
Albert of Adelaide
by Howard L. Anderson

I will admit I picked up this book because I thought, "A talking platypus? That sounds hiLARious." Then a few pages into it I decided that maybe the story wasn't going to be for me after all. And now after finishing it I feel like I've learned something about the world, and not just the many types of marsupials in Australia.

On the animal front we've got wallabies and bandicoots and kangaroos. There's a wombat and a Tasmanian devil. Then there are the dingoes, which are not marsupials. Just like Albert, the wandering platypus.

I wonder if his name is an homage to Camus, because eventually the story becomes full of fatalism and philosophical pondering. It begins, however, with a platypus on an adventure in the big wide world.

Tired of the zoo, Albert travels in search of Old Australia where he believes he will find happiness. But Old Australia proves elusive. In the desert he finds towns full of hard-drinking animals scrabbling to survive in a harsh, dusty landscape. He quickly learns how to throw a punch, violence being a recurrent theme. He meets friends and enemies, becomes a much-vilified and feared stranger, and meets those who he fears in turn. Always he is searching for Old Australia, but he also discovers folks to whom he feels kinship and loyalty, and sometimes those have to come first.

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