Drylands – Thea Astley

September 8, 2010

 Review by Gabriel

Drylands by Thea Astley

On the “About” page of this website, I say that I have a reading rotation of an Australian book, an international book and a Japanese book. For regular readers of this blog (all three of you), you might also have noticed that this reading rotation has gone out the window. One of the main reasons for this is that Australian books were so consistently underwhelming that they were kicked off the reading list, and I’m not the kind of person to sacrifice my down time and energy due to some vague sense of nationalism.

Drylands by Thea Astley embodies some of the worst tendencies of Australian literature. Astley writes like a first year creative writing student – she can’t help but indulge in flowery descriptions and uses lots of big words that serve little purpose other than to show off her vocabulary. Her characters are boring, unsympathetic rural Australian cliches, and her dialogue is clunky and unrealistic. Drylands has no plot. In addition to writing like a first year creative writing student, Astley’s world view is about as nuanced as a first year gender studies student, so blatant is the sexism and snobbishness of this novel. Read the rest of this entry »


A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

March 5, 2010

Review by Gabriel

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

A book is a bit like a conversation.  A long, considered conversation in which an author artfully reveals their views on a theme, and the world.  A Confederacy of Dunces is like a conversation with a smug, negative, self-satisfied arsehole who can do nothing but sneer at the world. Read the rest of this entry »