"...this week we're all going up the creek in a barbed-wire canoe. Wayne Macauley is the bloke who's taking us there. He's the author of a book called Blueprints for a Barbed-Wire Canoe. It's his first novel, published by a relatively small publisher, Black Pepper, and unusually for a first novel it's just gone into reprint. It has also now found its way onto the Victorian certificate of education English curriculum reading list, and it's a book that's firmly rooted in the complexities of contemporary urban Australia, but it also has the timeless feel of a fable or allegory to it. Blueprints for a Barbed-Wire Canoe is the story of a failed housing estate, an outer suburban development in Melbourne that offers the people who go to live there affordable housing, a village lifestyle and the promise of a fast freeway to the city. But in reality the services and amenities never arrive. Eventually only a few obstinate residents remain, feeling conned and isolated. As Wayne Macauley writes of their situation, and it's a strange but actually very apt way to put it: 'We had no mighty river of a freeway to irrigate us, to give us cars and life.'--Ramona Koval.
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