THE U.S. EMBASSY LITERATURE SERIES | Mary Ellen von der Heyden Book Presentation:
Tom Drury reads from his novel The Driftless Area (Das stille Land | Klett-CottaVerlag)

Driftless-AreaSet in the rugged region of the Midwest that gives the novel its title, The Driftless Area is the story of Pierre Hunter, a young bartender with unfailing optimism, a fondness for coin tricks, and an uncanny capacity for finding trouble: When his girlfriend gets pneumonia, Pierre is banished from the hospital. When he goes skating on the lake, he finds the lone stretch of bad ice. And when he falls in love, with the mysterious and isolated Stella Rosmarin, Pierre becomes the central player in a revenge drama he must unravel and bring to its shocking conclusion. Along the way he will liberate $77,000 from a murderous thief, summon the resources that have eluded him all his life, and come to question the very meaning of chance and mortality.  For nothing is as it seems in The Driftless Area. Identities shift, violent secrets lie in wait, the future can cause the past, and love becomes a mission that can take you beyond this world. In its tender, cool irony, The Driftless Area recalls the best of neonoir, and its cast of bona fide small-town eccentrics adrift in the American Midwest make for a clever and deeply pleasurable read from one of our most beloved authors.

“Like most of his previous work, Tom Drury’s latest novel could just as well be titled, “What’s the Matter With Iowa?” This is not the heartland as we’ve been led to understand it. Anything but the repository of American normalcy, Drury’s raggedy slice of the Midwest teems with vagrants and thieves, even a drug dealer who doubles as a rental car agent. …

The book’s title The Driftless Area refers to an actual geological anomaly in the Midwest that sat undisturbed while the continental glacier receded. Wisely, Drury doesn’t overplay the metaphor, but he does challenge the reader’s patience in the book’s plunge into the mystical. “The Driftless Area” builds up surprising locomotion as Shane pursues the hapless Pierre. The conclusion is an absolute thrill, until it suddenly leaps off the rails. Characters we’re perfectly content to hang with on mortal turf ultimately descend further through the author’s trap door and then up into … well, let’s just say it isn’t Des Moines. This fine, ambling novel ends with a tug of war between the spiritual we don’t altogether trust and the grind we’re somehow unable to resist.”    – The New York Times

Drury_Tom_swTom Drury is the author of Pacific, The End of Vandalism, Hunts in Dreams, The Driftless Area, and The Black Brook. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, and the Mississippi Review. Drury has been a Guggenheim Fellow and was named one of Granta‘s “Best Young American Novelists.” He lives in New York.

Tom Drury is currently the Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fellow in Fiction at the American Academy in Berlin.

  • Mon, March 2, 2015 | 8pmMain Stage

Tickets: 5 €*

* School groups are free if the register with

Moderated by Felicitas von Lovenberg (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

Helmut Mooshammer (Deutsches Theater) reads from the German translation.

English Theatre Berlin | International Performing Arts Center in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy, the American Academy in Berlin and Klett-Cotta Verlag

American Academy







Tom Drury liest aus The Driftless Area (Das stille Land)

Mary Ellen von der Heyden Book Presentation/U.S. Embassy Literature Series

The Driftless Area –  Tom Drury

The Driftless Area erscheint in deutscher Sprache im Klett-Cotta Verlag unter dem Titel Das stille Land am 31.  January 2015.

Eigentlich wollte der smarte Pierre Hunter raus aus der Provinz, nun schlägt er sich dort als charmanter Barkeeper durch. Sein unerschütterlicher Optimismus und die Begabung für Taschenspielertricks helfen ihm, Ärger aus dem Weg zu gehen. Aber diese Unbeschwertheit endet jäh, als ihm bei einem Unfall die geheimnisvolle Frau vom See das Leben rettet.

Tom Drury geboren 1956 in Iowa, zählt zu den wichtigsten amerikanischen Schriftstellern seiner Generation. Seine Romane wie »Das Ende des Vandalismus« und »Traumjäger« gelten als moderne Klassiker. Er veröffentlicht unter anderem im »New Yorker« und in »Harper’s Magazine«. Drury lebt in Brooklyn, New York.