AustLit logo
image of person or book cover 1878173767148310507.jpg
This image has been sourced from online.
Issue Details: First known date: 1999... 1999 Drylands : A Book for the World's Last Reader
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'In the dying town of Drylands, Janet Deakin sells papers to lonely locals. At night, in her flat above the newsagency, she attempts to write a novel for a world in which no one reads—‘full of people, she envisaged, glaring at a screen that glared glassily back.’ Drylands is the story of the townsfolk’s harsh, violent lives. Trenchant and brilliant, Thea Astley’s final novel is a dark portrait of outback Australia in decline.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Text ed.)

Exhibitions

18005749
18005672

Adaptations

y separately published work icon Drylands Peter Yeldham , ( dir. Bruce Beresford ) 2004 Z1137960 2004 single work screenplay

Contents

* Contents derived from the Melbourne, Victoria,:Text Publishing , 2018 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Introduction, Emily Maguire , essay

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Ringwood, Ringwood - Croydon - Kilsyth area, Melbourne - East, Melbourne, Victoria,: Penguin ; Viking , 1999 .
      image of person or book cover 1878173767148310507.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 293p.
      ISBN: 067088619X
    • Ringwood, Ringwood - Croydon - Kilsyth area, Melbourne - East, Melbourne, Victoria,: Penguin , 2000 .
      image of person or book cover 639272534376478905.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 293p.
      ISBN: 0140283803 (pbk.)
    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Text Publishing , 2018 .
      image of person or book cover 3774972162081808081.jpg
      Cover image courtesy of publisher.
      Extent: 272p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 30 April 2018

      ISBN: 9781925603576
      Series: y separately published work icon Text Classics Text Publishing (publisher), Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2012- Z1851461 2012 series - publisher novel 'Great books by great Australian storytellers.' (Text website.)
Alternative title: 旱土
Language: Chinese

Other Formats

  • Braille and sound recording.

Works about this Work

y separately published work icon Writing Belonging at the Millennium : Notes from the Field on Settler-Colonial Place Emily Potter , Bristol Chicago : Intellect , 2019 18882857 2019 multi chapter work criticism

'Writing Belonging at the Millennium brings together two pressing and interrelated matters: the global environmental impacts of post-industrial economies and the politics of place in settler-colonial societies. It focuses on Australia at the millennium, when the legacies of colonization intersected with intensifying environmental challenges in a climate of anxiety surrounding settler-colonial belonging. The question of what “belonging means is central to the discussion of the unfolding politics of place in Australia and beyond.

'In this book, Emily Potter negotiates the meaning of belonging in a settler-colonial field and considers the role of literary texts in feeding and contesting these legacies and anxieties. Its intention is to interrogate the assumption that non-indigenous Australians' increasingly unsustainable environmental practices represent a failure on their part to adequately belong in the country. Writing Belonging at the Millennium explores the idea of unsettled non-indigenous belonging as context for the emergence of potentially decolonized relations with place in a time of heightened global environmental concern.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

The Death of Australian Literature in Thea Astley’s Drylands Meg Brayshaw , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: Queensland Review , December vol. 26 no. 2 2019; (p. 256-268)

'This article reads Thea Astley’s final novel in the context of rhetoric about the death of Australian literature that has been a mainstay of our national culture almost since its inception. In the early 2000s, a new round of obituarists argued that the global publishing industry, critical trends and changing educational pedagogies were eroding Australia’s literary identity. Drylands, published in 1999, can be considered a slightly prescient participant in this conversation: it is subtitled A Book for the World’s Last Reader, seemingly framing the novel in a polemics of decline. My reading, however, sees the book as the product of two correlated yet combative literary projects: the attempt by its primary narrator, Janet Deakin, to write a book after what she sees as the likely death of reading and writing; and Astley’s more nuanced exploration of the role of literature in settler colonial modernity. Reading across the seven narratives that constitute the book, I argue that Drylands performs the fraught relationship between ethics and aesthetics in the context of writing about the systemic violence of the settler colonial state, questioning literary privilege, exclusivity and complicity in ways that remain relevant to debates regarding Australian literature today.' (Publication abstract)

Introduction Emily Maguire , 2018 essay
— Appears in: Drylands : A Book for the World's Last Reader 2018;
Re-reading Thea Astley's Drylands Debra Adelaide , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 77 no. 1 2017; (p. 166-182)

'On its website, the Reading Australian Literature series is advertised as offering a 'unique insight into an ongoing writerly dialogue with our literary heritage,' and so it was appropriate when first thinking about this topic I began with the idea of a conversation. the second thing that came to mind was a comment by Tegan Bennett Daylight in an essay on Helen Garner, in which she quotes Holden Caulfield, the narrator of The Catcher in the Rye. Holden says what really knocks him out 'is a book that ... you wish the author who wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could cal him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.' And Bennett Daylight herself says, 'Each time a writer writes that are making that phone call, to all the writers whose work they have read' (Bennett Daylight 25). (Introduction) 

‘No Nails New under the Sun’ : Creativity, Climate Change, and the Challenge to Literary Narrative in Thea Astley’s Drylands Emily Potter , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: TEXT Special Issue Website Series , no. 40 2017;
'Thea Astley’s millennial novel Drylands, a self-declared ‘book for the world’s last reader’ (1999, title page), offers an opportunity to reappraise literary narrative and creative experimentation in a time of climate change. This essay takes this up by reading Astley’s text as a paradoxical account of literature’s failings to either nourish or repair a drought-ridden, economically, environmentally and empathically beleaguered town in regional Australia. Astley’s vision is ostensibly declentionist, wherein the only hope for the future seems to lie in the inevitable ruins of the present. Within these ruins lies the fate of particular, historical creative forms, most notably the literary novel, which, as an expression of Western epistemology, is now evacuated of meaning. On the one hand, Astley seems to offer no reversed fortune for her characters or the textual practice that ironically brings them to life; however, the essay offers a further, dissonant reading of the text through a perspective of distributed agency which, as climate change unfolds, is where possibilities for literary work may lie.' (Publication abstract)
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
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)

Awards

Last amended 19 Nov 2019 13:06:42
X