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About the book
  • Published: 25 January 2012
  • ISBN: 9780143566663
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 324
  • RRP: $24.99
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When Horse Became Saw

A Family's Journey through Autism




When Alex was diagnosed with autism, his parents had two choices: do what they were told (and could afford), or do what they thought best.

When Anthony Macris' son was diagnosed with autism, he and his partner Kathy had two choices - do what they were told, and could afford, or do what they thought best.

This is the tragic, joyful, instructive story of how Anthony and Kathy took control of the therapy themselves, turning their lives upside down to do so. It took a long time, but the radiance did return to Alex's face. By then he was a completely different person, and so were his parents.

When Horse Became Saw is also an invaluable guide through the obstacles faced by anyone in this situation. It beautifully paints the emotional world of a father who finds himself in the strange country of autism – and something of a stranger in his own country, whose government refused to fund the therapy his son so desperately needed.

'A heartbreaking account ... one which will fill you with hope and love at the same time.' Canberra Times

'Macris does a brilliant job of investigating the world of autism. Ultimately this is a story of inspiration ... and the tale of unending parental love.' Sunday Telegraph

  • Pub date: 25 January 2012
  • ISBN: 9780143566663
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 324
  • RRP: $24.99

About the Author

Anthony Macris

Anthony Macris was born in Brisbane and is now a senior lecturer in creative writing at the University of Technology, Sydney. His novel Capital, Volume One, published in 1997, was shortlisted for the Best First Book, Commonwealth Writers' Prize, South East Asian Section. His book reviews, articles and features have appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, Griffith Review and The Bulletin.


Praise for When Horse Became Saw

“In restrained, lyrical prose Anthony Macris records [the family's] journey through profound anguish and moments of intense joy.”

Fiona Capp, Saturday Age

“Recalls memoirs of other kinds of loss, notably Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking ... An insistent and powerful study of resilience and a moving anatomy of love.”

Felicity Plunkett, Sydney Morning Herald

“A heartbreaking account ... a grim story, a very personal story, one that will leave you drained and angry, yet one which will fill you with hope and love at the same time.”

Karen Hardy, Canberra Times

“Heart-wrenching, beautifully wrought ... Readers with autistic loved ones will be grateful for this book; it's also an engrossing general read and a poignant story of a couple's fierce love for their son.”

Jo Case, Readings Monthly

“Beautifully stark writing characterises this emotional story ... Macris does a brilliant job of investigating the world of autism. Ultimately this is a story of inspiration; an exploration into human nature from a most unusual angle, and the tale of unending parental love.”

Sunday Telegraph

“An insightful and evocative look into the world of autism and the pressures it puts on parents ... This searing, poignant memoir raises difficult questions as it charts a couple's anguished journey through a maze of befuddling bureaucracy.”

Gillian Bramley-Moore, Courier Mail

“An inspirational human story written with compassion.”

Jennifer Chapman, Hobart Mercury

“Macris confronts fear and opens his heart with the touching When Horse Became Saw ... An inspirational story.”

Heather Tyler, Burnie Advocate

“Macris employs his novelist's skill in selecting and juxtaposing telling fragments of his experience so that he not only tells the reader the facts of his experience, but invites them to understand how it might feel to live it.”

Jo Case, Australian Book Review


Awards & Recognition

  • The Age Book of the Year Award

    Shortlisted • 2011 • Book of the Year

  • Prime Minister's Literary Award

    Shortlisted • 2012 • Non-fiction


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