Bruce Chatwin - Songlines

Bruce Chatwin


Vintage Books 1998, 293 pages


In the forward to Salattuja voimia, Johanna Sinisalo refers to passages from Songlines by Bruce Chatwin. These quotes made such a strong impression on me that I immediately set down her book and sent an e-mail to our local bookshop to order this one.


Of course I knew the name Bruce Chatwin, but still I had never read anything by him before. I wish I had started much earlier! Songlines, first published in 1987, is a sort of travelogue on his efforts to understand the Australian aboriginals’ manner of charting the country by using so-called songlines. Musings and collections of thoughts on nomadic travel make up part of the book.

I should set down on paper a résumé of the ideas, quotations and encounters which had amused and obsessed me; and which I hoped would shed light on what is, for me, the question of questions: the nature of human restlessness.

Wonderful reading. Although it did make me even more restless than I already am. I started marking passages in the book with little stickers but gave up when I realized how many there were.


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