Issue Details: First known date: 1999 1999
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

In her flat above Drylands' newsagency, Janet Deakin is writing a book for the world's last reader. Little has changed her in 50 years, except for the coming of cable TV. Loneliness is almost a religion, and still everyone knows your business. But the town is being outmanoeuvered by drought and begins to empty, pouring itself out like water into sand. Small minds shrink even smaller in the vastness of the land. One man is forced out by council rates and bigotry; another sells his property, risking the lot to build his dream. And all of them are shadowed by violence of some sort - these people whose only victory over the town is in leaving it. - Summary from Trove.

Adaptations

y Drylands Peter Yeldham , Z1137960 2004 single work screenplay

Notes

  • Also published in braille and sound recording formats.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Ringwood, Ringwood - Croydon - Kilsyth area, Melbourne - East, Melbourne, Victoria,: Penguin ; Viking , 1999 .
      Extent: 293p.
      ISBN: 067088619X
    • Ringwood, Ringwood - Croydon - Kilsyth area, Melbourne - East, Melbourne, Victoria,: Penguin , 2000 .
      Extent: 293p.
      ISBN: 0140283803 (pbk.)
Alternative title: 旱土
Language: Chinese

Works about this Work

Aborigines, Sharks and Australian Accents : On Australian Writing Jo Case , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Kill Your Darlings , July no. 6 2011; (p. 41-51)

'Jo Case talks to influential writers, publishers and critics about that often frustrating definition of 'Australia' literature.' (Editor's abstract)

A Century of Oz Lit in China : A Critical Overview (1906-2008) Yu Ouyang , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , June vol. 25 no. 1 2011; (p. 65-71)
‘This paper seeks to examine the dissemination, reception and perception of Australian literature in China from 1906 to 2008 by providng a historical background for its first arrival in China as a literature undistinguished from English or American literature, then as part of a ruoxiao minzu wenxue (weak and small nation literature) in the early 1930s, its rise as interest grew in Communist and proletarian writings in the 1950s and 1960s, and its spread and growth from the end of the cultural revolution in 1976 across all genres, culminating in its present unprecedented flourishing.’ (Introduction, p. 65)
Settler Post-Colonialism and Australian Literary Culture Anna Johnston , Alan Lawson , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Modern Australian Criticism and Theory 2010; (p. 28-40)
'This essay begins by mapping the place of settler postcolonialism in postcolonial studies, and its relevance to the Australian context. It then moves to demonstrate the applicability of settler postcolonial reading practices for Australian texts and contexts through two paradigmatic tropes: land and textuality.' Source: Modern Australian Criticism and Theory (2010)
Generational Change : Women and Writing in the Novels of Thea Astley Maureen Lynch Percopo , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Shared Waters : Soundings in Postcolonial Literatures 2009; (p. 167-177)
Some Versions of Coastal : Thea Astley, Captain Simpson and the North Queensland Coast Susan Sheridan , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Something Rich and Strange : Sea Changes, Beaches and the Littoral in the Antipodes 2009; (p. 114-126)
Compares two 'versions of coastal', Astley's and Captain Thomas Beckford Simpson's, which take different perspectives on the edge, 'the one looking longingly out from land to sea, the other looking apprehensively from sea to land' (122).
The Wide Brown Land : Literary Readings of Space and the Australian Continent Anthony J. Hassall , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australia : Making Space Meaningful 2007; (p. 45-53)
'In his 1987 poem "Louvres" Les Murray speaks of journeys to 'the three quarters of our continent/set aside for mystic poetry" (2002, 239), a very different reading of Australia's inner space to A.D. Hope's 1939 vision of it as '[t]he Arabian desert of the human mind" (1966, 13) In this paper I review the opposed, contradictory ways in which the inner space of Australia has been perceived by Australian writers, and note changes in those literary perceptions, especially in the last fifty years. In that time what was routinely categerised, by Patrick White among others, as the "Dead heart" (1974, 94) - the disappointing desert encountered by nineteenth=century European explorers looking for another America -has been re-mythologised as the "Red Centre," the symbolic, living heart of the continent. What Barcroft Boake's 1897 poem hauntingly portrayed as out where the dead men lie" (140,-2) is now more commonly imagined as a site of spiritual exploration and psychic renewal, a place where Aboriginal identification with the land is respected and even shared. This change was powerfully symbolised in 1985 by the return to the traditional Anangu owners of the title deeds to the renamed Uluru, the great stone sited at the centre of the continent; but while this re-mythologising has been increasingly influential in literary readings, older, more negative constructions of that space as hostile and sterile have persisted, so that contradictory attitudes towards the inner space of Australia continue to be expressed. In reviewing a selection of those readings, I am conscious that they both distort and influence broader cultural perceptions. I am also aware that literary reconstructions of the past reflect both the attitudes of the time depicted and the current attitudes of the writer, and that separating the two is seldom simple. Finally, I am conscious of the connections between literary readings and those in art and film of the kind documented by Roslynn Hanes in her 1998 study Seeking the Centre: the Australian Desert in Literature, Art and Film, and those in television and advertising. I have however, with the exception of the Postscript, limited my paper to literary readings, with an emphasis on works published since Haynes's study.' (Author's abstract p. 45)
Violence, Irony and Reading Relations : Thea Astley's Drylands Susan Sheridan , 2006 single work criticism
— Appears in: Thea Astley's Fictional Worlds 2006; (p. 164-175)
Reel Time Lawrie Zion , 2004 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 25 August 2004; (p. 11)
Thea Astley : Exploring the Centre Paul Genoni , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Subverting the Empire : Explorers and Exploration in Australian Fiction 2004; (p. 97-144)
The Deserted Village? Thea Astley's Drylands Anthony J. Hassall , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: 'Unemployed at Last!' : Essays on Australian Literature to 2002 for Julian Croft 2002; (p. 147-160)
Explores the discrepancies between Astley's extra-fictional positive comments about country towns in Queensland and her representation of country-town culture in some of her novels, particularly Drylands, as ugly, brutal and barely literate. Hassall argues that this contradiction could be another paradoxical version of the 'Sydney or the Bush' topos in Australian literature and culture.
For the Last Reader Lesley Chow , 2001 single work review
— Appears in: The Times Literary Supplement , 5 January no. 5101 2001; (p. 20)

— Review of Drylands : A Book for the World's Last Reader Thea Astley 1999 single work novel ; Benang : From the Heart Kim Scott 1999 single work novel
Shelf Life Jason Steger , 2000 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 28 October 2000; (p. 8)
Miles Apart as Authors, They Bathe in the Limelight as One Angela Bennie , 2000 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 9 June 2000; (p. 3)
Author Astley Books a Prize Record James Hall , 2000 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 9 June 2000; (p. 3)
Two Share Miles Franklin Jason Steger , 2000 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 9 June 2000; (p. 6)
Words to Cojure With : Fiction Janet Chimonyo , Owen Richardson , 2000 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 5 August 2000; (p. 7)
Ramona Koval Interviews Thea Astley, Co-Winner of the Miles Franklin Award for Drylands Ramona Koval , 2000 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , July no. 222 2000; (p. 46-47)
The Courier-Mail Book of the Year Shortlist [2000] Rosemary Sorensen , 2000 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 30 September 2000; (p. 5)
'The Voice of the Times' : Fin-de-siecle and the Voice of Doom in Thea Astley's Drylands Sue Kossew , 2000 single work criticism
— Appears in: CRNLE Journal 2000; (p. 177-183)
The author describes Astley's Drylands as personally, politically and culturally fin-de-siecle. She sees it interrogating the constructions of Australian nationalism which have persisted since the 1890s; mateship, prescribed roles for men and women, and myths of the bush. In the ending of Drylands, though, despite Janet's abandoning her search for the ultimate Eden, Kossew sees finality undermined, and an ongoing affirmation of reading and of books.
Untitled Connie Mercer , 2000 single work review
— Appears in: Fiction Focus : New Titles for Teenagers , vol. 14 no. 1 2000; (p. 10-11)

— Review of Drylands : A Book for the World's Last Reader Thea Astley 1999 single work novel
Untitled Connie Mercer , 2000 single work review
— Appears in: Fiction Focus : New Titles for Teenagers , vol. 14 no. 1 2000; (p. 10-11)

— Review of Drylands : A Book for the World's Last Reader Thea Astley 1999 single work novel
Untitled 2000 single work review
— Appears in: Fiction Focus : New Titles for Teenagers , vol. 14 no. 3 2000; (p. 45)

— Review of Drylands : A Book for the World's Last Reader Thea Astley 1999 single work novel
Country Strife Sally Morrison , 1999 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian's Review of Books , August vol. 4 no. 7 1999; (p. 3,27)

— Review of The Idea of Perfection Kate Grenville 1999 single work novel ; Drylands : A Book for the World's Last Reader Thea Astley 1999 single work novel
Venom of a Country Town Bary Dowling , 1999 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 31 July 1999; (p. 21)

— Review of Drylands : A Book for the World's Last Reader Thea Astley 1999 single work novel
Life No Less Ordinary Matthew Condon , 1999 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 17 August vol. 117 no. 6187 1999; (p. 110)

— Review of Drylands : A Book for the World's Last Reader Thea Astley 1999 single work novel
Savage Truths A. P. Riemer , 1999 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 21 August 1999; (p. 9)

— Review of Drylands : A Book for the World's Last Reader Thea Astley 1999 single work novel
Chronicle of a Death Foretold Delia Falconer , 1999 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 21 August 1999; (p. 9)

— Review of Drylands : A Book for the World's Last Reader Thea Astley 1999 single work novel
Tales of Dusty Death Cath Kenneally , 1999 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 4-5 September 1999; (p. 12)

— Review of Drylands : A Book for the World's Last Reader Thea Astley 1999 single work novel
Undimmed Outrage Kerryn Goldsworthy , 1999 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , September no. 214 1999; (p. 30-31)

— Review of Drylands : A Book for the World's Last Reader Thea Astley 1999 single work novel
For the Last Reader Lesley Chow , 2001 single work review
— Appears in: The Times Literary Supplement , 5 January no. 5101 2001; (p. 20)

— Review of Drylands : A Book for the World's Last Reader Thea Astley 1999 single work novel ; Benang : From the Heart Kim Scott 1999 single work novel
Acts of Noticing : A Consideration of Some Recent Australian Fiction Carmel MacDonald-Grahame , 2000 single work review
— Appears in: Westerly , November vol. 45 no. 2000; (p. 23-36)

— Review of The Red Heart Rosie Scott 1999 selected work essay autobiography ; Untold Tales David Malouf 1999 selected work short story ; Dream Stuff David Malouf 2000 selected work short story ; Blue : a novel Ken Spillman 1999 single work novel ; Freedom Highway Nigel Krauth 1999 single work novel ; The Chelsea Manifesto : a novel Bruce L. Russell 1999 single work novel ; Painted Words 1999 anthology short story poetry ; Liv : A Novel Morgan Yasbincek 2000 single work novel ; Hidden from View Richard Harland 1999 single work novel ; Benang : From the Heart Kim Scott 1999 single work novel ; Drylands : A Book for the World's Last Reader Thea Astley 1999 single work novel ; An Accommodating Spouse Elizabeth Jolley 1999 single work novel ; Neap Tide Dorothy Hewett 1999 single work novel ; Isobel on the Way to the Corner Shop Amy Witting 1999 single work novel ; Poe's Cat Brenda Walker 1999 single work novel ; Playing Madame Mao Lau Siew Mei 2000 single work novel ; The Hunter Julia Leigh 1999 single work novel ; The Australian Fiance Simone Lazaroo 2000 single work novel
Spiritual Drought Overtakes a Mythical Queensland Town Robert L. Ross , 1999 single work review
— Appears in: Antipodes , December vol. 13 no. 2 1999; (p. 121)

— Review of Drylands : A Book for the World's Last Reader Thea Astley 1999 single work novel
Diminishing Returns Stella Clarke , 1999 single work review
— Appears in: The West Australian , 25 September 1999;

— Review of Drylands : A Book for the World's Last Reader Thea Astley 1999 single work novel
The Deserted Village? Thea Astley's Drylands Anthony J. Hassall , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: 'Unemployed at Last!' : Essays on Australian Literature to 2002 for Julian Croft 2002; (p. 147-160)
Explores the discrepancies between Astley's extra-fictional positive comments about country towns in Queensland and her representation of country-town culture in some of her novels, particularly Drylands, as ugly, brutal and barely literate. Hassall argues that this contradiction could be another paradoxical version of the 'Sydney or the Bush' topos in Australian literature and culture.
Reel Time Lawrie Zion , 2004 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 25 August 2004; (p. 11)
Thea Astley : Exploring the Centre Paul Genoni , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Subverting the Empire : Explorers and Exploration in Australian Fiction 2004; (p. 97-144)
Violence, Irony and Reading Relations : Thea Astley's Drylands Susan Sheridan , 2006 single work criticism
— Appears in: Thea Astley's Fictional Worlds 2006; (p. 164-175)
Shelf Life Jason Steger , 2000 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 28 October 2000; (p. 8)
Generational Change : Women and Writing in the Novels of Thea Astley Maureen Lynch Percopo , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Shared Waters : Soundings in Postcolonial Literatures 2009; (p. 167-177)
Settler Post-Colonialism and Australian Literary Culture Anna Johnston , Alan Lawson , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Modern Australian Criticism and Theory 2010; (p. 28-40)
'This essay begins by mapping the place of settler postcolonialism in postcolonial studies, and its relevance to the Australian context. It then moves to demonstrate the applicability of settler postcolonial reading practices for Australian texts and contexts through two paradigmatic tropes: land and textuality.' Source: Modern Australian Criticism and Theory (2010)
Some Versions of Coastal : Thea Astley, Captain Simpson and the North Queensland Coast Susan Sheridan , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Something Rich and Strange : Sea Changes, Beaches and the Littoral in the Antipodes 2009; (p. 114-126)
Compares two 'versions of coastal', Astley's and Captain Thomas Beckford Simpson's, which take different perspectives on the edge, 'the one looking longingly out from land to sea, the other looking apprehensively from sea to land' (122).
The Wide Brown Land : Literary Readings of Space and the Australian Continent Anthony J. Hassall , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australia : Making Space Meaningful 2007; (p. 45-53)
'In his 1987 poem "Louvres" Les Murray speaks of journeys to 'the three quarters of our continent/set aside for mystic poetry" (2002, 239), a very different reading of Australia's inner space to A.D. Hope's 1939 vision of it as '[t]he Arabian desert of the human mind" (1966, 13) In this paper I review the opposed, contradictory ways in which the inner space of Australia has been perceived by Australian writers, and note changes in those literary perceptions, especially in the last fifty years. In that time what was routinely categerised, by Patrick White among others, as the "Dead heart" (1974, 94) - the disappointing desert encountered by nineteenth=century European explorers looking for another America -has been re-mythologised as the "Red Centre," the symbolic, living heart of the continent. What Barcroft Boake's 1897 poem hauntingly portrayed as out where the dead men lie" (140,-2) is now more commonly imagined as a site of spiritual exploration and psychic renewal, a place where Aboriginal identification with the land is respected and even shared. This change was powerfully symbolised in 1985 by the return to the traditional Anangu owners of the title deeds to the renamed Uluru, the great stone sited at the centre of the continent; but while this re-mythologising has been increasingly influential in literary readings, older, more negative constructions of that space as hostile and sterile have persisted, so that contradictory attitudes towards the inner space of Australia continue to be expressed. In reviewing a selection of those readings, I am conscious that they both distort and influence broader cultural perceptions. I am also aware that literary reconstructions of the past reflect both the attitudes of the time depicted and the current attitudes of the writer, and that separating the two is seldom simple. Finally, I am conscious of the connections between literary readings and those in art and film of the kind documented by Roslynn Hanes in her 1998 study Seeking the Centre: the Australian Desert in Literature, Art and Film, and those in television and advertising. I have however, with the exception of the Postscript, limited my paper to literary readings, with an emphasis on works published since Haynes's study.' (Author's abstract p. 45)
Aborigines, Sharks and Australian Accents : On Australian Writing Jo Case , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Kill Your Darlings , July no. 6 2011; (p. 41-51)

'Jo Case talks to influential writers, publishers and critics about that often frustrating definition of 'Australia' literature.' (Editor's abstract)

A Century of Oz Lit in China : A Critical Overview (1906-2008) Yu Ouyang , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , June vol. 25 no. 1 2011; (p. 65-71)
‘This paper seeks to examine the dissemination, reception and perception of Australian literature in China from 1906 to 2008 by providng a historical background for its first arrival in China as a literature undistinguished from English or American literature, then as part of a ruoxiao minzu wenxue (weak and small nation literature) in the early 1930s, its rise as interest grew in Communist and proletarian writings in the 1950s and 1960s, and its spread and growth from the end of the cultural revolution in 1976 across all genres, culminating in its present unprecedented flourishing.’ (Introduction, p. 65)
Down but Not Out Rosemary Sorensen , 1999 single work biography
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 7 August 1999; (p. 8)
Miles Apart as Authors, They Bathe in the Limelight as One Angela Bennie , 2000 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 9 June 2000; (p. 3)
Author Astley Books a Prize Record James Hall , 2000 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 9 June 2000; (p. 3)
Two Share Miles Franklin Jason Steger , 2000 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 9 June 2000; (p. 6)
Words to Cojure With : Fiction Janet Chimonyo , Owen Richardson , 2000 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 5 August 2000; (p. 7)
Ramona Koval Interviews Thea Astley, Co-Winner of the Miles Franklin Award for Drylands Ramona Koval , 2000 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , July no. 222 2000; (p. 46-47)
The Courier-Mail Book of the Year Shortlist [2000] Rosemary Sorensen , 2000 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 30 September 2000; (p. 5)
'The Voice of the Times' : Fin-de-siecle and the Voice of Doom in Thea Astley's Drylands Sue Kossew , 2000 single work criticism
— Appears in: CRNLE Journal 2000; (p. 177-183)
The author describes Astley's Drylands as personally, politically and culturally fin-de-siecle. She sees it interrogating the constructions of Australian nationalism which have persisted since the 1890s; mateship, prescribed roles for men and women, and myths of the bush. In the ending of Drylands, though, despite Janet's abandoning her search for the ultimate Eden, Kossew sees finality undermined, and an ongoing affirmation of reading and of books.

Awards

Last amended 2 Dec 2011 12:49:03
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