In her flat above Drylands' newsagency, Janet Deakin is writing a book for the world's last reader. Little has changed here in 50 years, except for the coming of cable TV. Loneliness is almost a religion, and still everyone knows your business. The town is being outmanoeuvred 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.
"Drylands is a wake-up call for millennial Australia... Astley's brilliance rests not only in her distinctive prose style but her willingness and courage to make social statements, to assemble portraits of pain as a bridge to compassion."