Tracks is the story of Robyn Davidson’s journey across the Australian desert from Alice Springs in central Australia to the western Australian coast, a distance of 2700 km (1700 miles). Unlike today this journey occurred at a time where adventure travel was still undertaken by those special few individuals who seemed larger than life.
I am old enough to remember this journey being in the newspapers and on TV and after watching the Tracks Movie recently, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I was left wanting for more detail and hence my desire to read this book.
While the movie provides a visual of the trip it omits a lot of the small, and for that matter larger details, that left me wanting more. So armed with all these questions I purchased the book in the hope of getting the answers I wanted and I wasn’t disappointed.
One of Davidson’s most well known quotes appears within the first few pages – after arriving in Alice Springs she realised that she has conned herself into this journey and there was ‘no turning back’. This is a thought I have sometimes had about some of my trips and can appreciate her view.
The book answered the questions the movie didn’t and provided insights into a number of smaller details not necessary in a visual format. The book goes into more detail on the Australian attitude of the time towards Indigenous peoples, and towards women, particularly in remote areas. While the movie provides some indication of the poor misogynist Australian culture of the 1970’s, the book goes into much more detail that creates a more detailed picture.
In addition, the book fills in a lot of gaps surrounding such subjects as camel behaviour, Davidson’s relationships with the locals and her interaction with the various Indigenous communities with whom she interacts.
If you are after an overview of Davidson’s trip then watch the movie. If you want the details and a more in-depth and richer view of her trip then read the book. Better yet do both.
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This review was done with product purchased by Australian Hiker