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 another…Referral 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.
‘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.’
…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.‘
‘The pace is headlong; the disintegration relentless. Startling, discomforting, and not likely to be underrated.’
‘Macauley imbues the shenanigans with just the right tough of satire and his social observations are spot on. More, please’
‘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.’
‘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.’
‘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.’
‘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.’
‘The novel raises timely and important questions.’
‘Unnerving and brilliant.’
‘Wayne Macauley is an entertaining satirist who mercilessly exposes Australian follies, and I like his novels very much.’
‘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.’
‘Wayne Macauley’s eclectic new novel, Some Tests, tackles the topic of death in a surreal way.’
‘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.’
‘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.’
‘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.’
‘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.’