O'Connor observes all this with an astonishing combination of irony and compassion, humor and pathos. The result is a novel whose range and depth reveal a brilliant and innovative writers acutely alert to where the sacred lives and to where it does not.
Jerene Jarvis Johnston and her husband Duke are exemplars of Charlotte, North Carolina's high society, where old Southern money—and older Southern secrets—meet the new wealth of bankers, boom-era speculators, and carpetbagging social climbers. Steely and implacable, Jerene presides over her family's legacy of paintings at the Mint Museum; Duke, the one-time college golden boy and descendant of a Confederate general, whose promising political career was mysteriously short-circuited, has settled into a comfortable semi-senescence as a Civil War re-enactor. Jerene's brother Gaston is an infamously dissolute bestselling historical novelist who has never managed to begin his long-dreamed-of literary masterpiece, while their sister Dillard is a prisoner of unfortunate life decisions that have made her a near-recluse.
As the four Johnston children wander perpetually toward scandal and mishap. Annie, the smart but matrimonially reckless real estate maven; Bo, a minister at war with his congregation; Joshua, prone to a series of gay misadventures, and Jerilyn, damaged but dutiful to her expected role as debutante and eventual society bride. Jerene must prove tireless in preserving the family's legacy, Duke's fragile honor, and what's left of the dwindling family fortune. She will stop at nothing to keep what she has—but is it too much to ask for one ounce of cooperation from her heedless family?
In Lookaway, Lookaway, Wilton Barnhardt has written a headlong, hilarious narrative of a family coming apart, a society changing beyond recognition, and an unforgettable woman striving to pull it all together.
A Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Book of 2013
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.
Wayne Macauley is a Melbourne writer. He is the author of three highly acclaimed novels, Blueprints for a Barbed-Wire Canoe, Caravan Story and The Cook.
'Wayne Macauley has the soul of a poet and his surreal novella is stunningly written...It is a satire of exquisite poise and confidence...If more Australian literature was of this calibre, we'd be laughing.' Age
'[It was] like falling into a bale of barbed wire in the dark and fighting to get out till morning. The more I struggled, the more it got under my skin.' Bulletin
'A salutary fable about the horrors awaiting our disaffected modern citizenry...lasting visual images and resonant symbolism.' Sydney Morning Herald
'Bewitching...ethereal...hallucinatory...In an era when many Australian novelists are playing it safe...Wayne Macauley is an ambitious talent worth watching.' Wet Ink
'Tapping the hidden heart of a different Australia...this is original Australian writing at its best.' Courier Mail
The Cook, Wayne Macauley's breakout novel, is funny and sad, strange and satirical, and weirdly moving.
At Cook School, Zac dreams about becoming the greatest chef the world has seen. 'You have been chosen, says Head Chef. Of all the young people wasting their lives you and you only have been chosen.'
Zac thinks he’s on his way when he gets a job as house cook for a wealthy family - the Mistress and Master and their daughters, Melody and Jade.
But when things start to fall apart, Zac knows he must take control.
Wayne Macauley is a Melbourne writer. He has published two novels, Blueprints for a Barbed-Wire Canoe (2004) and Caravan Story (2007). His short-fiction collection, Other Stories, was released in 2010.
'A riot of a book! Gripping and subversive...' Nick Cave
'Irresistible - The Cook reminds us just how exciting it is to read a wonderful and original novel.' Lloyd Jones
'Blackly funny and deliciously satirical, this book skewers our culture of food worship while feeding our curiosity about kitchens.' Age Magazine
'This brilliant and richly layered book by Melbourne author Wayne Macauley is almost impossible to put down...For Macauley is writing about nothing less than the social, cultural and moral excesses of late capitalism: about the logical absurdities of conspicuous consumption, the decadence of "fine dining" and the contemporary obsession with cooking.' Sydney Morning Herald
'This is a novel that punctuates the fine life, eviscerates food wankery and highlights the emptiness and decay of the distracted and wealthy...' Rachel Edwards, The Book Show
'The Cook is a confident and potent piece of work...One of the novel's most impressive achievements is its creation of a droll, readable, vernacular prose, which is not only rhythmically insistent but able to hint at the tension and the instability beneath its apparently detached and affectless surface.' Weekend Australian
'In the past few years, Wayne 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, indeed Melburnian, but his use of them is carefully distanced from realism and he has a prose style of remarkable poise and control that can allow his narratives to take off into the bizarre without ever losing their cool. Beneath that cool is a steady anger at the depredations of late capitalism, at the attempts of laissez-faire to turn us all into Homo economicus or addicted consumers...This is Macauley's longest novel so far and marks a brilliant development in his dark vision of the way we live.' Sunday Age
A novel about family, pride, and ambition, about what it takes for one man to make something out of nothing, set on a gorgeous, troubled island caught between tradition and modernity, Beggar's Feast establishes Boyagoda as a major voice in international literature.