Albert of Adelaide

Albert of Adelaide

A Novel

Book - 2012
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At once an old-fashioned-buddy-novel-shoot-'em-up and a work of deliciously imagined fantasy, Howard L. Anderson's dazzling debut presents the haunting story of a world where something has gone horribly awry . . .

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.

Told with equal parts wit and compassion, ALBERT OF ADELAIDE shows how it is often the unexpected route, and the most improbable companions, that lead us on the path to who we really are. Who you journey with, after all, is far more important than wherever it is you are going.
Publisher: New York : Twelve, 2012.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781455509621
Branch Call Number: AND
Characteristics: viii, 225 pages ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Adelaide

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j
joelbutler
Sep 24, 2015

If Kenneth Grahame (The WInd in the Willows) had decided to write Blood Meridian
Or the Evening Redness in the West (Cormac McCarthy) you would get Albert of Adelaide. It begins with Albert the Platypus wandering the desert having escaped from a zoo and meeting colorful characters some of whom later get eaten and decapitated (not by Albert). It is a good novel but the tone shift can be a bit jarring.

Cdnbookworm Nov 09, 2013

This quirky novel is set in the outback of Australia. Alberta is a platypus who has carefully planned and managed his escape from the Adelaide zoo, looking for a place he has heard where free animals like himself can live happily. He has managed to make his way north by hopping trains and is now well north of Alice Springs. As the book begins he is running low on supplies and is worried about survival, when he encounters a wombat named Jack who shares his supplies with Albert and the two begin to travel together. The first community they encounter is Ponsby Station, a mining town with a bar run by a kangaroo called O'Hanlin. They encounter other animals there, in particular a couple of bandicoots named Alvin and Roger, who reappear later in the story. Things get a little wild in Ponsby Station, and the two are forced to make a hasty run for it. They separate and Albert continues his adventures, first at an establishment called the Gates of Hell, run by a wallaby named Bertram and a possum named Theodore, an unpleasant couple of creatures. He befriends a stranded American, TJ, a raccoon from San Francisco who is attempting to find a way back home. As Albert makes friends, he also finds he has an undeserved reputation that both helps and hinders him. Throughout the book, there is reference to a creature named Muldoon, who we eventually encounter and learn his sad story.
This novel features numerous Australian animals, all looking for a better life than what was dealt to them, and all learning to deal with the reality of what they encounter. Interesting and thought-provoking.

e
eberg
Oct 29, 2012

An engaging adventure of a platypus looking for a place to call home. The story makes you band together with the platypus and cheer him on through his trials, as he makes his way through the outback. Being the only platypus around, an obvious outsider, trouble arises wherever he goes. He however makes friends with a pyromaniac wombat and thieving racoon and you want to follow his every move, hoping he finds what he’s looking for. Reminds me of other great literary characters, such as Dorothy and Frodo, as they all journey on a quest and gather friends and enemies along the way.

DanniOcean Aug 28, 2012

"Clever and sad with interesting characters. It is good and I would recommend it to others. I hope he writes a sequel." - Blind Date with a Book 2015 comment

reviewed in the Stratford Gazette, Sept. 2012

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DanniOcean Aug 28, 2012

Outback Australia is not a setting one would expect for a first novel by a defense attorney from New Mexico. Nor would one expect the main protagonist to be that enigma of the mammalian world, a platypus. Named Albert. Albert escapes the water tank at the Adelaide Zoo which magnified the faces that stared at him for fourteen hours a day through green algae. He hops a train heading deep into the heart of the Outback in search of Old Australia, “the place where things haven’t changed and Australia is like it used to be”, the place about which the zoo animals had whispered reverently and wistfully. A lone little platypus a long way from a river is bound to need friends, and the first he comes upon is an old wombat named Jack, who has never heard of Old Australia. For him there is just survival, and he takes Albert under his paw, gives him some clothes and teaches him about money. In Jack’s Australia, wallabies are evil, bandicoots are drunks, and dingoes are untamed, respected and respect those that fight well and with honour. Albert is told of the legendary Muldoon, who might help him find the Australia he seeks, and meets up with a creature just as odd in the Outback as he is himself, a raccoon from San Francisco. But as easily as he makes friends the little platypus also makes enemies, distrusted for his strange looks, luck and fierce fighting. He becomes wanted for murders he did not commit, and though deaths do occur as a result of his poisonous spurs, those make his reputation. As Albert battles prejudice and possums he becomes an animal he barely recognizes yet remains loyal to his friends, and true to his dream of freedom. Albert of Adelaide has all the adventure of Huckleberry Finn, a little bit of the melancholy of Paradise Lost, resembles Watership Down in its allegories (and animals), and has a hint of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It is delightful surprise of a read, and a thoroughly enjoyable first novel. That just happens to star a platypus. Named Albert.

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