Megan Harlan
June 23, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

In a Sunburned Country

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Bill Bryson
publisher
Broadway Books
genre
Travel

We gave it a C

Released in time for Sydney’s 2000 Summer Olympics, Bill Bryson’s lackluster chronicle of his travels Down Under, In a Sunburned Country, mostly sticks to the continent’s spectacular tourist circuit — Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef, cities like Melbourne. His thesis: While Australia might appear to the world as impossibly far away, ”This is a country where interesting things happen.” Yet even loony Aussie wildlife — tree kangaroos, lethal seashells — and deft appraisals of aboriginal culture get lost amid Bryson’s smart-alecky grousings about not-so-interesting things, like subpar hotel rooms. By this tedious travelogue’s end, Australia feels all too distant. C

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