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'Marshall’s dextrous examination of the ambiguities of relationships' - NZ Listener

Rich and subtle, this is a compelling novel from one of New Zealand's finest writers.It is a moving study of love and disappointment, of the harm we do to each other, knowingly and unknowingly, of the power and significance of landscape in our lives.

A graveyard is all that's left of the remote Central Otago settlement of Drybread, which miners, often hungry and disappointed, once searched for gold. It is to an old cottage nearby that Penny Maine-King flees with her young son, defying a Californian court order awarding custody of the child to her estranged husband. And seeking her in this austere, burnt country is journalist Theo Esler. He is after a story, but he discovers something far more personal and significant.


Drybread’s success lies in Marshall’s dextrous examination of the ambiguities of relationships – between parents and children, spouses, work colleagues and lovers – and how the needs of those on the inside don’t often coincide . . . In its best moments, Drybread contains what Marshall achieves in his stories, and the narrative pace fluctuates from a thriller to a love story.

Kevin Rabalais, NZ Listener

Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    August 3, 2007

    RHNZ Vintage

    272 pages

    RRP $27.99

    Online retailers

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  • EBook


    December 1, 2010

    Random House New Zealand

    272 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks NZ
    • Amazon Kindle
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Also by Owen Marshall

Love as a Stranger
The Larnachs
Living As a Moon
Carnival Sky
View from the South
A Many Coated Man
Sojourn in Arles
Essential New Zealand Short Stories
Harlequin Rex


The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
A Gentleman in Moscow
Echo Burning
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
The Girl on the Train
The Heart's Invisible Furies
Dragonfly In Amber
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Golden House
The Bear and The Nightingale
Ready Player One
The Trip of a Lifetime
On Chesil Beach
Animal Farm
The Light Between Oceans
A Long Way from Home
The Travelling Cat Chronicles