They were going to tell stories. Let's go away for the weekend, said Megan, and leave our phones behind and turn off the computers and television and stop time because time is moving too fast and soon we'll all be saying where the hell did our lives go? We'll cook some food and drink some wine and each tell a story.
It is the middle of winter. Seven friends travel to a remote coastal beach house for the weekend. Without phones, internet or television, they sit around the fireplace, telling stories – each exposing the foibles of humankind. But as a storm rolls in and torrential rain cuts the party off from the outside world, it soon becomes clear that some secrets are best kept hidden.
Demons is an extraordinary novel by one of Australia's great writers.
Read Caroline Baum's Review
Wayne Macauley’s new novel has a deceptively simple set up: a group of seven friends leave their everyday lives behind to gather at a beach house and tell stories over wine and food. Sounds a bit like The Big Chill without the funeral, doesn’t it?
Middle class, middle-aged professionals, they bring along the baggage you would expect of marital tension, professional disappointment, substance addiction and predictable insecurities with them. The stories they tell as the weather rages outside cutting them off from the outside world expose their foibles and folly. But are they telling the truth or are they covering up other, more shameful secrets to distract each other from what is really going on?
Macauley treads a delicate line in his deft handling of his characters and their revealing tales, never overplaying his hand. Instead he drops in casual giveaway details, as the unease inside the house matches the increasingly fierce weather outside. There is an unshowy finesse to the way each story exposes and reveals something about the storyteller as the narrative builds to a stormy climax.
About the Author
Wayne Macauley is the author of the highly acclaimed novels: Blueprints for a Barbed-Wire Canoe, Caravan Story and, most recently, The Cook, which was shortlisted for the Western Australian Premier's Book Award, a Victorian Premier's Literary Award and the Melbourne Prize Best Writing Award. His new book Demons will be available in August 2014. He lives in Melbourne.
'Macauley has ingeniously refurbished an old tale to capture the perplexing vacuity of a generation...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.' Weekend Australian 'Absorbing' Saturday Paper 'Brilliant, thought-provoking.' Otago Daily Times 'Absorbing, thought-provoking and altogether quite brilliant.' -- BookMooch 'The novel [has] the potential to resonate with Australians in the same way as Christos Tsiolkas's The Slap, only it's darker and more complex.' Herald Sun/Courier Mail '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.' Surf Coast Times 'The pace is headlong; the disintegration relentless. Startling, discomforting, and not likely to be underrated.' Auckland Herald 'Macauley imbues the shenanigans with just the right touch of satire and his social observations are spot on. More, please.' North and South
Number Of Pages: 232
Published: 23rd July 2014
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.3 x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.32