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y separately published work icon Simpson Returns single work   novella  
Issue Details: First known date: 2019... 2019 Simpson Returns
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Ninety years after they were thought to have died heroically in the Great War, the stretcher-bearer Simpson and his donkey journey through country Victoria, performing minor miracles and surviving on offerings left at war memorials. They are making their twenty-ninth, and perhaps final, attempt to find the country’s famed Inland Sea.

'On the road north from Melbourne, Simpson and his weary donkey encounter a broke single mother, a suicidal Vietnam veteran, a refugee who has lost everything, an abused teenager and a deranged ex-teacher. These are society’s downtrodden, whom Simpson believes can be renewed by the healing waters of the sea.

'In Simpson Returns, Wayne Macauley sticks a pin in the balloon of our national myth. A concise satire of Australian platitudes about fairness and egalitarianism, it is timely, devastating and witheringly funny.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Notes

  • Dedication: for Graham Henderson, who gave me the goad.

  • Epigraph: ...lowly, and riding upon an ass... -Zechariah 9:9

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Text Publishing , 2019 .
      image of person or book cover 7562418376686860886.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 144p.p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 2 April 2019.

      ISBN: 9781925773507

Works about this Work

True Meaning Lost to Legend Ed Wright , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 11 May 2019; (p. 23)

— Review of Simpson Returns Wayne Macauley , 2019 single work novella

'Once an event escapes from living history its memories become open to confection. When these events are legends, in their loss of connection to actuality they can become vehicles for sentimentality or the mythic embodiment of values society chooses for points of self-identification. The Anzac legend is a classic ­example, of fortitude against the odds, against the stupid decisions of the brass, of mates standing up for mates, of the ­pragmatic know-how of the everyman trumping the pretensions of the nobs.' (Introduction)

The Other Way, The Other Truth, The Other Life : Simpson Returns Anthony Uhlmann , 2019 single work essay
— Appears in: Sydney Review of Books , September 2019;

'There are many ideas of difficulty and struggle in relation to writing. One that is sometimes forgotten when a writer achieves a level of prominence is the struggle involved in finding a publisher and an audience. With Wayne Macauley some of these difficulties are clearly signalled, with post-it notes helpfully attached to signposts alerting fellow travellers to the challenges faced by writers who write in ways that might be considered atypical or difficult in the industry of Australian publishing in the early twenty-first century.'  (Introduction)

Mirage Alex Cothren , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , May no. 411 2019; (p. 31)

'Care and compassion, a fair go, freedom, honesty, trustworthiness, respect, and tolerance. These were the nine ‘Australian values’ that former Liberal Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson demanded be taught in schools, especially Islamic schools, across the nation in 2005. How? Partly through the tale of John Simpson and his donkey, Murphy. They clambered selflessly up and down Gallipoli’s Shrapnel Valley with the bodies of Anzacs on their backs like Sisyphus’s boulder, their forty days of toil ended by a sniper’s bullet. Never mind that Simpson’s real surname was Kirkpatrick; that he did the equivalent work of many nameless others; or that Simpson was an illegal Geordie immigrant who had enlisted just for the free ticket back to England. ‘The man with the donkey’ has consistently proven too useful a tool to question for war recruiters and other patriotic tub-thumpers.' (Introduction)

Wayne Macauley, Simpson Returns Ronnie Scott , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 30 March - 5 April 2019;

— Review of Simpson Returns Wayne Macauley , 2019 single work novella

'He lives and yet does not live; he’s flesh and yet not. He’s John Simpson, ill-fated stretcher-bearer of Gallipoli turned national myth, and in this short novel by Wayne Macauley, he’s dredged up from the mists of time along with Murphy the donkey, who accompanies him on his endless quest to find the Inland Sea. “We follow the vast network of fissures and gullies inland,” he says, “leaning on charity where we must, paying our way where we can.” He pauses to read The Lucky Country and perform minor miracles on ordinary Australians. But Simpson and his donkey have never made it across state lines; on their last attempt (the 28th) they were beset by wasps.' (Introduction)

Wayne Macauley, Simpson Returns Ronnie Scott , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 30 March - 5 April 2019;

— Review of Simpson Returns Wayne Macauley , 2019 single work novella

'He lives and yet does not live; he’s flesh and yet not. He’s John Simpson, ill-fated stretcher-bearer of Gallipoli turned national myth, and in this short novel by Wayne Macauley, he’s dredged up from the mists of time along with Murphy the donkey, who accompanies him on his endless quest to find the Inland Sea. “We follow the vast network of fissures and gullies inland,” he says, “leaning on charity where we must, paying our way where we can.” He pauses to read The Lucky Country and perform minor miracles on ordinary Australians. But Simpson and his donkey have never made it across state lines; on their last attempt (the 28th) they were beset by wasps.' (Introduction)

True Meaning Lost to Legend Ed Wright , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 11 May 2019; (p. 23)

— Review of Simpson Returns Wayne Macauley , 2019 single work novella

'Once an event escapes from living history its memories become open to confection. When these events are legends, in their loss of connection to actuality they can become vehicles for sentimentality or the mythic embodiment of values society chooses for points of self-identification. The Anzac legend is a classic ­example, of fortitude against the odds, against the stupid decisions of the brass, of mates standing up for mates, of the ­pragmatic know-how of the everyman trumping the pretensions of the nobs.' (Introduction)

Mirage Alex Cothren , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , May no. 411 2019; (p. 31)

'Care and compassion, a fair go, freedom, honesty, trustworthiness, respect, and tolerance. These were the nine ‘Australian values’ that former Liberal Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson demanded be taught in schools, especially Islamic schools, across the nation in 2005. How? Partly through the tale of John Simpson and his donkey, Murphy. They clambered selflessly up and down Gallipoli’s Shrapnel Valley with the bodies of Anzacs on their backs like Sisyphus’s boulder, their forty days of toil ended by a sniper’s bullet. Never mind that Simpson’s real surname was Kirkpatrick; that he did the equivalent work of many nameless others; or that Simpson was an illegal Geordie immigrant who had enlisted just for the free ticket back to England. ‘The man with the donkey’ has consistently proven too useful a tool to question for war recruiters and other patriotic tub-thumpers.' (Introduction)

The Other Way, The Other Truth, The Other Life : Simpson Returns Anthony Uhlmann , 2019 single work essay
— Appears in: Sydney Review of Books , September 2019;

'There are many ideas of difficulty and struggle in relation to writing. One that is sometimes forgotten when a writer achieves a level of prominence is the struggle involved in finding a publisher and an audience. With Wayne Macauley some of these difficulties are clearly signalled, with post-it notes helpfully attached to signposts alerting fellow travellers to the challenges faced by writers who write in ways that might be considered atypical or difficult in the industry of Australian publishing in the early twenty-first century.'  (Introduction)

Last amended 3 Dec 2019 10:58:18
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