Paperback

Published: Lightning Books (August 2019)

ISBN: 9781785630910

The Drover's Wives

Ryan O'Neill

9.99

Ninety-nine reinterpretations of a classic Australian short story

The stunning follow-up from the author of the award-winning Their Brilliant Careers

Henry Lawson’s short story The Drover’s Wife is an Australian classic that has sparked interpretations on the page, on canvas and on the stage. But it has never been so thoroughly, or hilariously, reimagined as by Ryan O’Neill, remixing and revising Lawson’s masterpiece in 99 different ways.

The variations include a Year Eight essay, a pop song, a sporting commentary, an insurance claim, a Hollywood movie adaptation and even a cryptic crossword.

Inventive and unexpected, this is laugh-out-loud literature from one of Australia’s finest satirists.

OUT MAY 2019. AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW

Extracts

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quotes

‘In his supercalifragilisticexpialidocious new book Ryan O’Neill does something stunningly original using Henry Lawson’s The Drover’s Wife – turning it into a bravura literary game. I have never read a work like this before. It is a perfect reference book and teaching aid for teachers and students of English by illustrating the rich variety of ways we play with and use the language. A cerebrally imaginative tour de force

Frank Moorhouse

reviews

‘The book is imaginative, clever, experimental, adroit, self-reflexive and very funny. As you turn the pages, you wonder just what O'Neill will come up with next’

Sydney Morning Herald

‘Pitch perfect… hilarious… Fellow writers in particular will enjoy O’Neill’s gift for literary karaoke… This is a book that begs to be read aloud. The reinterpretations are short, between one and three pages, and every one is entertaining. O’Neill is so adept at literary ventriloquism and at mastering multiple genres and forms’

The Australian

‘Captivating, coruscating, brilliantly honed satire... With this new work, O’Neill brings something new and thoroughly engaging into the Australian literary scene. Read it slowly, bit by bit, because satire gobbled too fast can overwhelm the reader or dull the senses. But read it, and odds are you will, by turns, laugh and weep’

Australian Book Review

‘It’s a kind of satire of everything that's been done on the subject [of Henry Lawson’s The Drover’s Wife] in the past, and I think it’s brilliant. It’s hilarious… There’s so much literary criticism built into it, so much awareness of popular culture, so much wit and little jokes that come into into it, that I’m totally entranced’ 

Susan Wyndham, ABC Radio

extras

Ryan O’Neill: Why I wrote 99 versions of Henry Lawson’s most famous story – Sydney Morning Herald interview.

How the trade press in the Northern Hemisphere and Down Under reported our acquisition of The Drover's Wives.

Listen to a broadcast review by Australian literary critic and prize judge Susan Wyndham on ABC Radio Sydney. From 1'35.

Read an entertaining Q&A with Ryan O’Neill for the Australian Book Review

ABOUT

Ryan O'Neill

Ryan O’Neill was born in Glasgow in 1975 and lived in Africa, Europe and Asia before settling in Australia.

His short story collection The Weight of a Human Heart was shortlisted for the 2012 Queensland Literary Awards.

His debut novel Their Brilliant Careers, first published in Australia in 2016, won the Australian PM's Prize for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award.

He lives in Sydney.

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