Dreams, visions, monsters, and a landscape that changes as you walk through it. That’s the Dry Country.
No one crosses the Dry unchanged. If you don’t change, you don’t make it. For those desperate enough to cross the Dry in search of a better life, there are Guides, who can navigate the mirages and transformations that make the Dry so dangerous.
Miskin runs away from home to travel the Dry Country and become a Guide. But everything goes wrong. The other travelers think the Guide business is a scam and a swindle. The Dry reacts to their disbelief by sending terrifying nightmares and horrifying mythical beasts. Setting off alone to find rescue, Miskin struggles with illusive swamps and sinkholes. Then she faces a choice between her new-found love and her calling as a Guide.
Reviews for the Book
I picked up The Dry Country to escape reality, and instead found myself in a parallel reality, close allegory for how I feel navigating the tail-end (I hope) of Trump’s America. Reading the book has been a therapeutic exercise, the adventurous and encouraging kind. Early on, I double-checked the copyright. The last leg of the trek is foreshadowed to be weirder and more difficult in some unfathomable way. Written in 2018, Judith Pratt could not anticipate COVID, but the feeling of the journey, in each of its legs, is eerie for the characters in the book as well as current readers. Just as COVID has invited us all into quarantine, with a limited “pod” of companions, to assess who we are in a time of shape-shifting reality; The Dry Country puts its characters through a similar journey, but with more charm. As the characters press forward into an undetermined future, they experience symbolic dreams, some that border on nightmares, or cross over into nightmare territory, much the way weird dreams containing elusive metaphors have become nighttime companions for my husband, my socially-distant friends and me. I can recommend this book because at the end, I felt oddly comforted and centered. The book’s theme, that no one leaves The Dry Country unchanged, is also true for post-Trump and post-COVID America. Even if we feel exhausted and bit beat up, even though the monsters aren’t all dead, there’s hope. - Debra Sapp-Yarwood
About the Author: Judith Pratt
I love to read fantasy and sci-fi, so I wrote a fantasy novel: THE DRY COUNTRY. My second novel, SILJEEA MAGIC, is fantasy/magical realism. It’s available from Black Rose Writing on Kindle, in paperback, and through Black Rose. My next magical realism novel, THE SKILL, will be published soon.
I’m also a published and produced playwright. (See THE WRIGHT PLACE and PLAYS FOR STUDENT ACTORS AND DIRECTORS.)
I live in Ithaca NY with a husband and three cockatiels. Ithaca is a university town surrounded by farms and woods.
Now on my 8th or 9th career, I’ve been a theatre professor, a journalist, and a mime (!), along with some more boring jobs. Writing is the least boring job I’ve had.
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