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Some Tests - Wayne Macauley

Paperback

Published: 29th May 2017
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It begins with the normally healthy Beth - aged-care worker, wife of David, mother of Lettie and Gem - feeling vaguely off-colour. A locum sends her to Dr Yi for some tests. 'There are a few things here that aren't quite right,' says Dr Yi, 'and sometimes it is these little wrongnesses that can lead us to the bigger wrongs that matter.'

Beth is sent on to Dr Twoomey for more tests. Then to another specialist, and anotheraReferral after referral sees her bumped from suburb to suburb, bewildered, joining busloads of people all clutching white envelopes and hoping for answers.

But what is actually wrong with Beth - is anything, in fact, wrong with her? And what strange forces are at work in the system? As the novel reaches its stunning climax, we realise how strange these forces are.

Unnerving and brilliant, Some Tests is about waking up one morning and finding your ordinary life changed forever.

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Thought-provoking

4

Some Tests is the fifth novel by Australian author, Wayne Macauley. At thirty-seven, Beth Own is happily married mother of two young daughters. She has a nice house on Blossom Street in Heatherdale and works in aged care. On Monday afternoon, Beth is feeling a little off colour, feeling something is not quite right, so she leaves work early. David takes care of Lettie and Gem and, when Beth feels no better the following morning, and unable to get an appointment with their usual GP, organises a locum to visit. After his examination, the locum tells Beth she needs to go for some tests. At first Beth wonders if staying in bed for a day would have proved sufficient to restore her usual vigour, but in her "not quite right" state, finds herself deferring to those who obviously know what is best for her health. Beth embarks on a trek through the bewildering world of medical tests, one of seemingly a parade of patients all needing some tests, all subject to the dizzying effect of the rarefied atmosphere encountered at the consulting rooms of medical specialists. Beth's continued acceptance is reminiscent of Stockholm Syndrome, and for anyone who has encountered the mystique of this realm, with its jargon, its inadequacy of explanation, its feeling of loss of control, this will strike a chord. Macauley populates his tale with believable characters (although you may want to give Beth a good shake and tell her to get a grip, until you remember her judgement is probably off because she's a bit unwell), and, ghosts and a slightly bizarre ending notwithstanding, he certainly gets the reader thinking about where to draw the line with those tests, and how well- or ill-equipped we might be to determine that. Ceridwen Dovey says this novel is "darkly surreal" and there is no description more succinct or more wholly apt. Thought-provoking.

Thirroul

Some Tests

4.0 1

0.0

`Macauley has published some of the most memorable fiction going in this country. His books and stories are satirical fables in which the properties are recognisably contemporary and Australian...His narratives [can] take off into the bizarre without ever losing their cool.' * Age *
...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 on Demons *
'The pace is headlong; the disintegration relentless. Startling, discomforting, and not likely to be underrated.' * Auckland Herald on Demons *
'Macauley imbues the shenanigans with just the right tough of satire and his social observations are spot on. More, please' * North and South NZ on Demons *
`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
`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. You will never see a waiting room the same way.' * Readings *
`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), though Macauley's fictional worlds are always set in Melbourne or greater Victoria. The meaning or relevance of his dystopian satires are to be found locally too, in our country's follies.' * Saturday Paper *
`Despite its subject matter, humour and warmth are woven into the deceptively uncomplicated writing. There's a large range of characters, but Macauley gives each of the important ones definition and life.' * Otago Daily Times *
`The novel raises timely and important questions.' * SA Weekend *
`Unnerving and brilliant.' * Outthere *
`Wayne Macauley is an entertaining satirist who mercilessly exposes Australian follies, and I like his novels very much.' * ANZ Lit Lovers *
`To write fiction about sickness and its attendant uncertainty is to risk many dire traps: didacticism, speechifying, the needlessly graphic. In his new novel, Some Tests, Wayne Macauley has deftly avoided every one...There is an anger here transformed into bemusement, which in turn finds a darker, more surreal form...Though Macauley's allegorical prowess remains undimmed, this is perhaps the most straightforward and direct book he's written...[A] compelling style...The shock of the familiar, vividly portrayed.' * Sydney Morning Herald *
`Wayne Macauley's eclectic new novel, Some Tests, tackles the topic of death in a surreal way.' * Guardian *
`For something that's built on such a high concept idea, Macauley manages to bring a lot of tension out of the narrative. Its clear goals and problems are refreshing, the prose itself clear and unadorned-Macauley has a gift for rendering tedium in a very readable fashion.' * Kill Your Darlings *
`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.' * Australian *
`Some Tests is neither a didactic nor an angry book. It's actually very funny...[It] is ultimately a strange novel, amusing and very often frightening. And also, potentially, instructive.' * Sydney Review of Books *
`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, Best Books of 2017, Australian Book Review *

ISBN: 9781925355932
ISBN-10: 1925355934
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 208
Published: 29th May 2017
Publisher: Text Publishing Co
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.2 x 15.3  x 2.1
Weight (kg): 0.35