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Down Under cover art

Down Under

By: Bill Bryson
Narrated by: William Roberts
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Summary

Featuring a special introduction written for the audiobook edition and read by the author

Australia has more things that can kill you than anywhere else. Nevertheless, Bill Bryson journeyed to the country and promptly fell in love with it. The people are cheerful, their cities are clean, the beer is cold, and the sun nearly always shines.

©2000 Bill Bryson (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Down Under

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  • 18-05-16

Awful accent - buy the author-narrated version

What would have made Down Under better?

Either an Australian narrator, or the American not attempt a dreadful accent

What did you like best about this story?

Bryson's writing is superb

What didn’t you like about William Roberts’s performance?

His 'Australian' accent

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The story is great, the performance is dreadful

Any additional comments?

Buy the version ('In a sunburned country') that's narrated by Bryson himself instead!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/055350259X/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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34 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Hilarious

Bill Bryson is witty, entertaining and thought-provoking and this book is all of those. It's easy to read, makes you laugh out loud and gets the grey matter working. I am from Down Under and it was fun hearing about Australia from a foreigner's perspective. I would thoroughly recommend it.

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20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Great book, Shoot the narrator.

Very enjoyable script, but the attempts at accents, Yorkshire and pivotally Australian of which the narrator clearly has no knowledge leaves you leaping for the fast forward button.

He truly is excruciating, an excellent book ruined

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17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent - makes you want to go down under

Just finsihed down under and thoroughly enjoyed Bryson's travelogue with random facts and bemusing anecdotes. The narrator is fantastic.

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9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Perfect roadtrip activity

We listened to this during our own roadtrip around Australia, which made it a really great listening experience as places we had just been to (or were headed to) were described to us in a light-handed yet informative manner.

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7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Go down under with Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson’s style of writing is quiet and understated. He draws you in so that you find yourself travelling with him and enjoying his insights into the lives of others from a mid Atlantic perspective. He includes a lot of factual information about the country and his understanding of the Australian psyche. I especially enjoyed his interpretation of the game of cricket and the story of house building in Melbourne. So if you do not want to go to all the trouble of having to travel to Australia yourself then sit back and let Bill Bryson take you there instead.

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7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A narration so bad it almost adds to the humour

Except that it doesn’t, because it is so terribly distracting. Surely the ability to execute even a passable Australian accent should have been a job requirement here?

If you’ve never been to Australia or heard an Australian speak, then perhaps you will love this narrator. Everyone else will be reaching for their earplugs... (warning to any Yorkshire folk, a passage around chapter 4 will have you calling your local police to report a crime against your accent)

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5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Rather a let down (under)

What did you like best about Down Under? What did you like least?

I have enjoyed some of Mr Brysons efforts before and being a sometime resident of Australia wanted to listen to this one, rather late to the party I confess.

I found it to be a bit of let down, rather poorly researched with limited references to source material. Furthermore some of the comments I found xenophobic at best, a little racist at worst. ' A Land where men are men and sheep are scared' Is that kind of comment really the best you can offer?

The worst part I'm sad to say was the narration. Rather an excitable and high pitched American voice. The biggest problem though was the insistence on providing an Australian accent at certain points that was truly dreadful, off putting and a little offensive.

So not a terrible book and did have some good parts but overall not my favourite.

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5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Delightful and informative as always

This Bryson travelogue was quite different for me since, being Australian, I could compare his acute observations with my own experience of many years.

Bryson's considerations are interesting though necessarily limited and I entertained with great affection William Roberts's numerous and resonant mispronunciations of Australian towns.

I love Bryson's humour and his humanity, noting both the sometimes ghastly foibles of behaviour and our deep sins as a culture.

I will now listen to any Bryson works that I may somehow have missed.

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Al
  • 30-12-16

Intriguing/funny but let down by awful narration

Would you try another book written by Bill Bryson or narrated by William Roberts?

I'd buy another Bill Bryson book, but it'd have to be in written form as I found William Roberts' narration wholly off-putting.

His accent grated on my nerves and his pitch, tone, and timbre demanded continual focus and attention and resulted in the inability to relax during listening.

I much preferred the hard copy of the book which I found intriguing and well-flowing.

Based on my experience of this purchase, I can whole-hearted say that I intend to never buy another title narrated by William Roberts.

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2 people found this helpful