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Albert of Adelaide: A Novel by Howard…
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Albert of Adelaide: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Howard Anderson

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124997,109 (3.79)12
Member:SmangosBubbles
Title:Albert of Adelaide: A Novel
Authors:Howard Anderson
Info:Twelve (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 240 pages
Collections:No longer own
Rating:***
Tags:fiction, fantasy, australia, animals

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Albert of Adelaide: A Novel by Howard Anderson

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A platypus escapes from a zoo in Adelaide to search for Old Australia where everything is wonderful and free. In the desert, he meets a pyromaniac wombat, an aging Tasmanian devil (who was once a well-known fighter), a roguish raccoon (he’s a foreigner), assorted marsupials, and a several dingoes. It’s a kind of Watership Down Under with anthropomorphized animals interacting with each other in their own culture apart and uninvolved with humanity. It’s also has the feel of an old TV Western story with gun-toting bad guys, prospectors, dusty little towns, and dingoes playing the role of American Indians. Mainly, it’s a classic quest tale. Albert (the platypus) is ostensibly looking for a legendary promised land but is actually discovering himself, learning that each new experience, in a way, begins a new life.
It’s charming, as anthropomorphized animal stories often are. I can’t say I saw much in the way of profound thoughts, cultural satire, or anything of that nature, but it does touch a bit on questions every person asks at one time or another. Is there is more to life? Is the grass greener on the other side? What am I? These are not explored at any length in this book. They are simply hinted at, and the answer, if one is presented, is that you just muddle through, take things as they come, and keep wondering.
I enjoyed the story. The characters are simplistic but likeable. There is not much of a plot, but the characters and setting are engaging enough that you want to keep reading to see what Albert finds next.
( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
Thanks to First Reads giveaways for this great book.

Well, Albert is, as you can see form the cover, a platypus. And he is looking for something. So there you have it, the great setting for an adventure. Did I mention this adventure takes place in the Australian outback? Not a great place for a water-loving platypus to be, so I was interested in how the author dealt with that. The answer: clothes. That will bother some people. A part of me wished that it could be a book with exactly the kind of storyline, but animals acting more like animals, without clothes and guns. But it is impossible to imagine a platypus prancing around in the desert for days without sun protection. Given this limitation, I think the characteristics of each species was dealt with in a deft manner. Each had its idiosyncrasies and odd habits as well as those habits that limited or liberated them. The mood or temperament of each animal was well studied and suited the plot development.

The writing is clean, with a few subtle glitches (two also's in the same sentence, for example). At times, I felt like some paragraphs were written to explain the unreal or unbelievable too much. It is a tendency I understand well as a writer, the writer explaining why someone does something a bit questionable. And perhaps if it is lacking, then we complain things didn't make sense or it was unrealistic, so can't keep everyone happy.

The plot is fast-paced enough to keep things going, but knows to slow down for inner contemplations of the characters. In other words, Albert does a lot of soul searching, but the plot keeps us turning the pages.

All in all, a unique and good read. A great way to learn about some strange creatures and Australia. I am not aware how much violence kids are allowed in books these days, but this one does have a lot of shootings and deaths and even a throat slitting, so parents might want to keep that in mind. ( )
  bluepigeon | Dec 15, 2013 |
In which a platypus, angry and embittereed but also likable and a bit naive, escapes from his unloved home in the Adelaide Zoo and sets out on a trek to find an edenic Old Australia. He quickly enough finds colorful friends, such as a firebug wombat, antagonists, notably the wallabies and kangaroos who are sworn enemies of all non-marsupials, and more ambiguous local color like the enigmatic dingoes who worry him and a pair of drunken bandicoots who are the ball-and-chain to his every move, however simple it might have been without their help. This starts out as a vehicle for the protagonist's wry observations on life on earth, and it would have been a very good novel on that level, but it eventually develops a fascinating plot as interesting as any cliff-hanger out there. ( )
1 vote Big_Bang_Gorilla | Mar 7, 2013 |
Albert of Adelaide by Howard Anderson is a fantasy about a platypus who, having escaped from the zoo at Adelaide, is on a journey of discovery. He has heard of a different Australia, an “old Australia’ where animals can live in harmony and freedom. While searching for this mythical place, he also embarks on a journey of self-awareness and learns how powerful friendships can be.

Finding himself in a harsh desert landscape and having to fight for survival was not what Albert had planned on, but he rises to every occasion and, wearing his heart on his sleeve, learns what it is like to become a hero. A difficult book to describe, I will borrow the words of Mary Doria Russell, author of Doc and The Sparrow:

“If Larry McMurtry had written Wind in the Willows, he might have come up with something almost as wonderful and moving as Howard Anderson’s Albert of Adelaide. This is a novel that defies analysis and summaries. Trust me, just read it.” ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Dec 7, 2012 |
Book Review & Giveaway: Sometimes my attention is caught by a book cover out of sheer curiosity, and that was the case with Albert of Adelaide by Howard L. Anderson. I’d never seen a book cover featuring a platypus and wasn’t sure what to make of it, so I decided to check it out. After reading the publisher’s description, I still wasn’t sure but there was something about it that intrigued me. Read the rest of my review & enter our giveaway at http://popcornreads.com/?p=4898. ( )
  PopcornReads | Nov 6, 2012 |
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Book description
Albert is a duck-billed platypus, who has escaped from a zoo in Adelaide to look for somewhere that may, or may not, exist: Old Australia, a place where humans never venture, and animals still rule. Albert knows it's somewhere in the middle of the Outback - not the ideal habitat for a water-loving animal - but now he's lost and close to death. He's saved, though, by Jack, a pyromaniac, sardine-loving wombat, who promptly gets him into even worse trouble taking him to a marsupial-only bar run by a kangaroo called O'Hanlin, getting him drunk and then burning the bar down. And this is just the beginning of Albert's adventure ... A glorious romp of a novel, Albert of Adelaide is a story of friendship, loyalty and heroism. And marsupials. Pacy and poignant, it's completely original -- a book for people (and animals) of all ages.
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"Having escaped from Australia's Adelaide Zoo, an orphaned platypus named Albert embarks on a journey through the outback in search of "Old Australia," a rumored land of liberty, promise, and peace. What he will find there, however, away from the safe confinement of his enclosure for the first time since his earliest memories, proves to be a good deal more than he anticipated. Alone in the outback, with an empty soft drink bottle as his sole possession, Albert stumbles upon pyromaniacal wombat Jack, and together they spend a night drinking and gambling in Ponsby Station, a rough-and-tumble mining town. Accused of burning down the local mercantile, the duo flees into menacing dingo territory and quickly go their separate ways-Albert to pursue his destiny in the wastelands, Jack to reconcile his past. Encountering a motley assortment of characters along the way-a pair of invariably drunk bandicoots, a militia of kangaroos, hordes of the mercurial dingoes, and a former prize-fighting Tasmanian devil-our unlikely hero will discover a strength and skill for survival he never suspected he possessed."--Dust jacket.… (more)

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