Accessibility Tools

  • Content scaling 100%
  • Font size 100%
  • Line height 100%
  • Letter spacing 100%

Thea Astley

The play of mirror images in this new work of Thea Astley is quite dazzling. She goes from strength to strength in her command of the crafts of narrative. The book is an enquiry into escape, not just any escape, but escape in an almost metaphysical dimension, in which losing oneself is the only way to find oneself. The novel appears to divide into two novellas, linked by the appearance of the villain, and I use the term advisedly, in both. However the two stories are so closely linked in theme, in motifs and in structure, that they are more like twin pictures that form a diptych.

... (read more)

The whole of inland Australia is manoeuvred, manipulated by the weather and by seasons, especially if you are in primary industry. I always like the story, I was travelling north once on the plane and the person next to me said that they hadn’t had rain for seven years. They were living out around Mt Isa and the first time it fell, his five-year-old ran in screaming with fright. But that’s probably one of those north Queensland stories.

... (read more)

Do not attempt to judge this book by its amazingly beautiful but iconographically confusing cover. A close-up photograph of a single leaf shows its veins and pores in tiny detail. The colours are the most pastel and tender of creamy greens. Superimposed over this lush and suggestively fertile image is the book’s one-word title: Drylands ...

... (read more)

Thea Astley had a way with words. Her novels are studded with arresting metaphors, atrocious puns, hilarious one-liners, arcane words, technical terms from music, geometry and logic, religious and literary allusions. Her verbal pyrotechnics can be dazzling and infuriating, in equal measure: as Helen Garner once wrote, it is ...

... (read more)

The record for the largest number of Miles Franklin Literary Awards ever won is jointly held by Tim Winton and Thea Astley, with four wins each. It may seem odd that with three of those already behind her, Astley should also have won the Patrick White Award in 1989 for ‘a writer who has been highly creative over a long period but has not necessarily received adequ ...

It’s Raining in Mango: Pictures from the Family Album was first published in 1987, on the eve of the bicentenary of white settlement in Australia, when many versions of the story of Australia were advanced and debated. Thea Astley’s book presents a family, the Laffeys, as a microcosm of the national story. It is a novel made up of stories told by Connie ...

Thea Astley (25 August 1925–17 August 2004) was an Australian novelist and short story writer. Her first novel, Girl with a Monkey, was published in 1958. She was a prolific and multi-award-winning writer who published fifteen novels and two short story collections and won the Miles Franklin award four times (for The Well Dressed Explorer in 1962, fo ...

Susan Sheridan’s Nine Lives, a ‘group biography’, analyses the life stories and literary achievements of nine Australian women writers. The purpose, according to Sheridan, is not only to rediscover the life story of each, but also, by exploring their publishing and aesthetic context, to create a ‘fresh configuration’ of our literary history.

... (read more)

This updated edition of essays on Thea Astley’s fiction will appeal to readers beyond the academy. It plays with the question as to why Astley (1925–2004) has been the subject of so little literary scholarship, despite her many literary awards (including four Miles Franklin Awards – only Tim Winton has won as many).

... (read more)

One of the principal characters in much of Thea Astley’s writing is Queensland. ‘An intransigent fecundity dominated two shacks which were cringing beneath banana clumps, passion-vines, granadillas.’ There’s a lot of sad poetry about the place; and the distances that separate us, I mean the physical distances, are like verse-breaks in a ballad; and once, once we believed the ballad might never end but go on accumulating its chapters of epic while the refrain, the almost unwordable quality that mortises us together, retained its singular soul. How express the tears of search?

... (read more)
Page 1 of 2