There’s not even a book cover yet but Aussie author Jane Harper’s debut crime novel The Dry, awarded the Victorian Premiere Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript last May, has just been sold in a three book deal at the Frankfurt book fair (no rides and cotton candy, just a lot of book wheeling and dealing) and picked up by Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Pacific Standard.
Witherspoon’s partner, Bruna Papandrea (an Australian herself) said of the book—
“When you fall in love, the feeling is undeniable and Jane’s remarkable book possesses my two favorite things: brilliant writing and an Australian setting”You and me both, Bruna! So, what is the book we’ll all soon be reading, actually about?
Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, a farmer turns his gun on his family and then himself. The rural community of Kiewarra is facing desperate choices daily. If one of their number broke under the strain, well, there but for the grace of God…
But as questions mount and suspicion casts a long shadow over the parched town, specialist investigator Aaron Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and childhood friend Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, old wounds start bleeding into fresh ones.
The Dry is a story of desperation, resolution and small-town prejudice, played out against the blistering extremes of life on the land.Reese Witherspoon is usually very interested in producing works with strong female characters (Gone Girl, Wild, Big Little Lies) so while this synopsis doesn’t indicate a strong female part, I expect (hope?) there’s a strong woman buried in there somewhere!
Jane Harper is currently a business writer for the Herald Sun in Melbourne. Sounds like it might be time to give up her day job.
Do you love books set in Australia too? Check out my thoughts on Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion And one of these days I’ll gather my thoughts on The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, a gorgeous novel I can’t wait to see onscreen. It’s already wrapped and stars Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander and Rachel Weisz.