A black comedy set in a new housing estate on the outskirts of Melbourne.
Bram and his fellow residents are drawn by a dream: the promise of a freeway leading to a new suburb north of the city. The houses are built, but the freeway never comes. One by one, the dreamers leave, until only a small, hardcore group is left—including Bram, One-eyed Michael, and Michael’s self-possessed daughter Jodie. As the disused houses crumble around them they barricade themselves in. They have a gun, a bulldozer, and a hellbent determination to stay till the end, whatever, whenever, that is. But the authorities have other ideas.
Blueprints for a Barbed-Wire Canoe, Wayne Macauley’s first novel, is a bitingly dark take on the great Australian dream. Fable-like, effortlessly readable and ultimately moving, it shows us in full measure the depth of Macauley’s talent.
‘Wayne Macauley has the soul of a poet and his surreal novella is stunningly written… Itis a satire of exquisite poise and confidence… If more Australian literature was of this calibre, we’d be laughing.’
‘ [It was] like falling into a bail of barbed wire in the dark and fighting to get out till morning. The more I struggled, the more it got under my skin.’
‘A salutary fable about the horrors awaiting our disaffected modern citizenry… lasting visual images and resonant symbolism.’
‘Bewitching… ethereal… hallucinatory…In an era when many Australian novelists are playing it safe… Wayne Macauley is an ambitious talent worth watching.’
‘Tapping the hidden heart of a different Australia…this is original Australian writing at its best.’
‘A wry and deadpan assault on dreary and deluded town planners…Macauley hits the bullseye.’