demons cover Demons  

Demons, Text Publishing, 2014. ISBN 9781922147363 230pgs. RRP A$29.99. 

'Wayne Macauley's Demons rightly establishes him as perhaps Australia's greatest contemporary author.' - Books and Pieces

Readings Bookshop: 'Best Fiction of 2014'
Weekend Australian: 'Books of the Year 2014'
Books and Pieces: 'Favourite Books of 2014'
Shortlisted: 2015 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Fiction  


(old to new...) 

 "In Demons, Macauley is at his caustic best... How we should live, and to live in truth, is [his]
grand theme – one which art, like this novel, is uniquely positioned to address...
with a now trademark sardonic bent – he mounts here an at once hilarious and biting critique
of our rampant ‘culture of narcissism’. At the same time he proffers a passionate case
for the power and value of art in our hopelessly superficial, morally vacuous 24/7 world.
Even though the landscape of late modernity is a barren terroir indeed,
Macauley would seem to say, the harvest is still what we make of it."
Martin Shaw, Readings Monthly
(Book of the Month)

"The effect is somewhat like a musical score... horrified-hilarious...
Macauley treads a fine line between satire and sentiment."
Nicole Lee, The Guardian

"... from an Australian fiction writer who could never be accused of complacency [Demons] rapidly
reveals itself to be a surgeon’s sternum retractor – a work designed to help the reader
stare at and hold and squeeze and prod the heart of the art of fiction."
Anon, The Saturday Paper

 "Wayne Macauley has a nose for exposing the zeitgeist... In his new novel, Demons, Macauley has
ingeniously refurbished an old tale to capture the perplexing vacuity of a generation...
To call Demons satire, which is how most of his earlier work has been characterised, feels
too limiting. He has taken a 14th-century narrative framing device and mixed it with
the classic Australian weekend away to produce a fierce and uncomfortable novel
about contemporary Australian life that drives us to ask why we are who we are,
as it simultaneously makes us wish we were better."
 Ed Wright, The Australian
"... a call for help and a call to arms. Demons is a brilliant, thought-provoking dissection..."
Ian Williams, Otago Daily Times (NZ)

"So, has Wayne Macauley transformed himself from a pioneer of fantastical realism into a purveyor
of popular thrills? Is he out to give Agatha Christie a run for her money? Not quite. But Demons does
mark a new and unexpected shift for the author of Caravan Story and The Cook... lashings of dread,
 menace and mordant social criticism... tabloid tales of suicide, of infidelity, murder and greed... 
He has always used a plain, tightly controlled style, but here he is restrained to
the point of rigidity, the prose like a mask set in cold fury."
Andrew Fuhrmann, The Age

"So how do I rate the Melbourne author's fourth novel? Highly. ...edgy, abrasive, darkly grotesque.
Macauley tells it all in springy,
crackling sentences and conversations like street brawls.
He can
skewer a character with a phrase, often from his/her own mouth. The pace is headlong;
the disintegration relentless.
Startling, discomforting, and not likely to be underrated."
David Hill, Auckland Herald (NZ)

"Melbourne writer Wayne Macauley has been building a reputation for himself over the last ten or so years...
This new book, part novel, part story collection, depicts a group of 40-something inner-suburban types, holed up
over the weekend in a house on the Great Ocean Road...
The framing device suggests a well-made realistic play,
but the stories themselves, for all their familiar properties,
extend as far as black absurdism and
fairy-tale gothic...  droll, sinister, and well told...
Macauley is a writer always worth reading."
Owen Richardson, Sunday Age & Sydney Morning Herald

"... [an] excellent and thought-provoking novel... The stories they each tell would make a fine stand-alone collection...
but Wayne Macauley has weaved around them a scathing black satire on contemporary Australia. Great shit."
Fred Negro, Melbourne. Arts. Fashion 

"Demons is a compelling, can’t-put-it-down book. Not because of any thrilling action, but because of its ordinary,
troubled characters, their ordinary everyday struggles and the stories they tell. In a way the novel is like a collection
of short stories, although every one of them leads us to understand more about the teller and the listeners as they
start to hit uncomfortably close to home. Each story and how it is told offers fascinating insight into
human nature in a humorous, yet sharp critique of contemporary society and its many flaws."
Andi Lawson-Moore, Surf Coast Times

"Demons presents itself as a grab-bag of a novel: a collection of curious tales stitched together with black humour,
sly parallels, earnest musings and snippets of philosophical argument. ... [this] gives it something of an ad hoc feel,
but it acquires coherence from its overt concern with the complicated relationship between the act of storytelling and
the concept of truth... Macauley’s characters have had pearls cast before them, yet have somehow managed to contrive
 a situation where they are helpless victims of circumstance, a ‘generation in charge’ that is inept and powerless. They have
self-sabotaged, driven themselves mad, rushed like lemmings to their collective destruction, not so much insane
and raging as blinkered and befuddled. Their tragedy turns out to be a farce."
James Ley, Sydney Review of Books
"Australian author Wayne Macauley's Demons rightly establishes him as perhaps Australia's greatest contemporary author.
The Cook, published in 2012, was extraordinary in every way. I absolutely loved it... In his new novel Demons Macauley deepens
and broadens his focus... [exposing] the deep and dark abyss - the 'dirty great gaping hole' - under the necessary courtesies,
protocols and basic moralities of our social construct. I
t's such a joy to find an author like Macauley producing such fine work.
Demons is rich and meaningful in so many ways. A book to debate endlessly. A treat for book clubs.
So what we have here is one of the best Australian novels of 2014. It is superb." 

Peter Donoughue, Books and Pieces  

"It seems like a fine idea. Four couples decide to leave behind their careers and kids for a weekend, and head out to
a remote beach house. This is Australia but it’s also wintertime... The group tries to keep the weekend on track, drinking and
telling tales of murder, desire and cruel twists of fate... The fierce rainstorm that engulfs the house is nothing compared to the
chaos that will descend when it clears, as this sly social satire evolves into the story of a politician’s rapid downfall."
Hephzibah Anderson, Daily Mail (UK)

" The book’s strength lies in the way in which it shines a light on modern Australia, where everybody should be happy,
 but no one seems content...
I admire Macauley’s silky and immediate prose style, his masterful way
with dialogue and his clever expose on pertinent Australian issues."

Kim Forrester, Reading Matters (UK)

Links: Demons at Text
              Demons Book Club Notes

              Demons at Readings

              Demons at Goodreads