Book Review – Albert of Adelaide by Howard L. Anderson

The cover of this book caught my eye at the library. I like it. The art, the colors, the font, the quirky subject…. It’s a great cover. The story is a contemporary fantasy about a platypus who 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 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 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.

About Dave

A reader and writer of speculative fiction. See my website for more information on me and my writing.

Posted on October 16, 2012, in Book Reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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