Some Tests, Text Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781925355932 272pgs. RRP A$29.99.
'Teeming with ideas... thought-provoking... completely unique... utterly compelling' - Readings Monthly
Australian Book Review: '2017 Books of the Year'
The Australian: 'Best Books of 2017'
Shortlisted: Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature
Longlisted: Miles Franklin Award
30 May 2017. Some Tests, a new novel, is released.
(old to new...)
"A darkly surreal tale of how illness of any kind turns a person’s world inside out—
and a philosophical lament at the alienating effects of modern medical systems.
This is Macauley at his brilliant, poetic best, using the fable form to broadcast an
existential wake-up call to his readers, asking us to reconsider how we live and die—
but at the same time, as the best art does, reminding us that we do not suffer alone."
Ceridwen Dovey, author of Only The Animals
"Wayne Macauley’s latest satirical novel, Some Tests, is teeming with ideas...
You would expect these thought-provoking topics to be heavygoing, but Macauley’s prose
is so tight, clean and accessible that we glide through, in much the same way that Beth
succumbs to the ‘experts’ and her increasingly bizarre journey. Some Tests is a completely
unique offering among the recent spate of books about illness, death and Western medicine.
With eerie touches of strangeness that quickly progress to the surreal, Macauley
turns the mundane consultation into utterly compelling reading."
Bel Monypenny, Readings Monthly
"Wayne Macauley is an Australian original. He
writes in a tradition of dystopian satire –
associated most famously with
George Orwell’s 1984 or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World
– but in
a stripped-back and absurdist style. His
work is a mixture of Jonathan Swift, Samuel Beckett,
Franz Kafka and J. M.
Coetzee (in allegorical mode)... enlivened by the energy of anger
and a certain anarchism. Some Tests is classic Macauley..."
Anon, The Saturday Paper
"On the surface the book is a straightforward story, but increasingly we become aware of a quiet,
underlying fantastical element. Despite its subject matter, humour and warmth
are woven into the deceptively uncomplicated writing."
Mike Crowl, Otago Times (NZ)
"Wayne Macauley is an entertaining satirist who mercilessly exposes Australian follies,
and I like his novels very much. Macauley’s latest target, in Some Tests, is the medicalization of
normal life... On the first day, Beth seems to be experiencing what is familiar to all of us, but soon
events take a more surreal turn... It is as if she is on a conveyor belt and there is no getting off...
There is, in trademark Macauley style, a suitably macabre ending."
Lisa Hill, ANZ LitLovers
"Though Macauley's allegorical prowess remains undimmed, this is perhaps the most
straightforward and direct book he's written... the writing here is spare and measured, a third-person
mode stripped almost entirely of unnecessary adornment. Like many of the masters often alluded to
as Macauley's influences and precursors – Kafka, Coetzee – it's the maintenance of an implacable,
taut surface that's most crucial. It's the regulation of breath – a breath desperate to keep itself regular
as uncertainty mounts – that guides the book's compelling style... For any reader who has
suffered from a nameless woe, or shared the answerless agony of another's pain,
Some Tests will offer the shock of the familiar, vividly portrayed."
Adam Rivett, The Age & Sydney Morning Herald
"taut, enjoyable... For something that’s built on such a high concept idea, Macauley manages
to bring a lot of tension out of the narrative... It would have been easy for Some Tests to
transpire as a satire of bureaucracy run amok, but Macauley’s focus on the subtle differences
in our class system is what sets this novel apart. At no point does it over-reach – any
time it looks like the circumstances are going to be too absurd to swallow, his solid
characterisation shines through... That we’re kept grounded as the horror
of Beth’s situation slowly comes into focus is the book’s true gift."
Chris Somerville, Kill Your Darlings
"If nothing else, one thing guaranteed in any Wayne Macauley work of fiction is that its surface
is just that: a vehicle inside of which the real messages are carried. What makes Macauley’s
novels exceptional is these messages are always vital — they are the messages we’ve been
asking ourselves for millennia, in one way or another — but also the surface story-vehicle
that carries these messages is compelling in its own right... If there’s a test really
worth taking, a choice really worth making, it’s to read Some Tests,
and all of Macauley’s writing, and see where you end up."
Sam Cooney, The Australian
"... an extraordinary treatise on the autonomy of the sick, a meditation on mortality, and an exploration
of the nature of acceptance that is at once sinister and spiritual... Some Tests might be marketed as a
discussion of a social issue, but it’s better than that: it unfolds as a fairy-tale does, inevitably and with the
strange-but-familiar logic of dreams... Macauley is famously underrated – in 2012 he won the
inaugural MUBA for The Cook. Perhaps it’s partly because he makes readers feel uncomfortable,
unsettled in the everyday; one emerges from his books freshly uncertain. Many of the writers
I know are fans of his work. Looking mortality in the eye is not for everyone, and Some Tests
sustains its steady gaze right to the end. To surrender to it, to follow
where it leads you, is to risk transformation."
Jennifer Mills, The Lifted Brow
"Some Tests is neither a didactic nor an angry book. It’s actually very funny. I’ve read Macauley
described as a satirist, but that implies a coldness, a kind of clinical precision that is smart but
heartless, almost misanthropic. Macauley is no misanthrope. To put it in a sweeping, clumsy way,
Macauley is an empathetic writer who simply knows that this condition – our life, our predicaments –
is weird, is rife with logical inconsistencies... The strangeness is simply the truth. That’s the most
immediately intoxicating quality of most of his books, and it adds a potency to Macauley’s
observations that more sober-eyed contemporary Australian novels with a critical eye on
contemporary life very rarely equal... Some Tests is ultimately a strange novel,
amusing and very often frightening. And also, potentially, instructive."
Shaun Prescott, Sydney Review of Books
"My final hat-tip is to Wayne Macauley’s Some Tests (Text Publishing), a subtle and quietly moving novel
about illness and death. Macauley’s stylised and artfully paced narrative, which gradually takes on a
dreamlike quality, is a fine example of his ability to evoke the inchoate sense of dissatisfaction
and existential disquiet that lurks beneath the surface of contemporary life."
James Ley, Australian Book Review
(2017 Books of the Year)