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Albert of Adelaide: A Novel by Howard…

Albert of Adelaide: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Howard Anderson

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1208100,400 (3.78)12
Title:Albert of Adelaide: A Novel
Authors:Howard Anderson
Info:Twelve (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 240 pages
Collections:No longer own
Tags:fiction, fantasy, australia, animals

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Albert of Adelaide: A Novel by Howard Anderson



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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 |
Albert of Adelaide is, perhaps, best described as a fable; in part, because all of the characters happen to be animals who live in a world where marsupials wear clothes and engage in commerce, etc, but also for the way it talks about the act of living.

Our title character, Albert, is a young platypus who manages a rather daring off-the-page escape from the Adelaide zoo in a quest for what he hopes is the Australia of his dreams. What he gets is the outback. The setting and characters very much have the feel of a western adventure full of guns, desert, and double-crosses but also deep friendship and pathos. Albert learns a great deal about himself as he waddles through the dusty expanses of an unforgiving country.

Albert of Adelaide is a rather quick read with some surprising subtleties if you can get through its unusual setting. The characters are well presented and eminently likeable, which makes their rather difficult tribulations all the more touching. We are never made privy to the true nature of this Old Australia, though a few suggestions are dropped to keep us thinking while wisely leaving it all up to interpretation. I am very grateful I picked this up at my local library, and look forward to see what other little nuggets Mr. Anderson can produce to help me while away future afternoons. ( )
  Magus_Manders | Nov 5, 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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