Most helpful critical review
Interesting story, shame about the characters
on 15 November 2012
As soon as I saw the cover of this book, I knew I had to read it - as a native Tasmanian I love reading books that have a familiar setting as they are sadly few and far between. Add the bonus of finding out more about one of Tasmania's icons, the Tasmanian Tiger and I was really looking forward to this.
Strangely, the book is written in first person plural - which wouldn't have been so bad but for the references to things that 'we' did such as 'we dreamed' and 'we imagined'. In fact, it's so vague that it's only by doing some research outside the book that I managed to find out who the 'we' actually were. Unfortunately this strange narrative wasn't the only issue I had - the other characters were actually quite wanky - their jokes and attempts at being clever were quite flat, and their idea that they would actually 'rediscover' a species that vanished nearly 80 years ago in a few short weeks was just plain weird Sure, I understand that they wanted to be positive, but it was just a bit too much.
What I did enjoy was the investigation into Tasmanian wildlife, the story of the demise of the Tasmanian Tiger and the very Tasmanian people that they met along the way. The author did an excellent job of portraying truthfully the openness and strange habits of the people of Tasmania, without being condescending. The book also contains pictures created by Alexis, which he made with various organic materials he picked up along the way which was an added bonus.
Although this book had some faults, and did start to drag a little in the middle, I think what made it for me was the familiarity of the places, the people, and the overall relaxed atmosphere of Tasmania. I think it would also make an interesting read for non-natives - after all, where else in the world would you find an animal with a duck bill, that lives underwater, lays eggs in it's pouch and has poisonous spurs on its hind legs, for which there is no anti-venom?