Life Postponed: A Novel by Mark Tayar

ISBN: 9780645049206 (Paperback) and 9780645049213 (E-book)

Available late December 2020

Billy is a young Australian-born Chinese man, Jessie is Anglo-Australian from just outside Sydney and Jacob has Aboriginal heritage. These cultures overall create a mosaic of dark shades of illness contrasted with pastels of wellness. The imaginations of each of them are culturally grounded and often logically scientific but are sometimes blurred with thoughts and ideas that do not fit Australia’s dominant cultural norms. The trio of stories shows recovery from mental distress has unique journeys but universal themes. Ways of understanding symptoms and mental health challenges as well as specific wellness strategies are wrapped in an authentic and compelling narrative. The half-fiction, half-autobiographical stories are grounded in real experiences from 4 metro health districts. Life Postponed features three diverse people in Sydney who are forced into a psych ward in Sydney during the first wave of COVID-19. The stories are based on real people and events transplanted into the chaos of 2020. The trio of new friends learn the effects of the mental distress as they are locked down on a ward then try piece back together their old life or chart new lives. Through rich visual metaphor readers who are carers or clinicians as well as general audiences with an interest in mental health will gain a better understanding of what it is really like to go through a mental health crisis. For patients or past mental health consumers, similarities will be found in each journey but there is also a diversity of experiences to aid reflection on what might happen if symptoms, systems or demographics are different. Life Postponed is a story of discovery, hope, setbacks and commendable effort to fill the many gaps in a troubled system. With lifelong trauma to be caused by COVID-19 for so many, this novel documents skills, treatment and systemic changes becoming even more essential for wellbeing.

About the Author

Mark Tayar has experience on both sides of the fence: as a patient across four Sydney health districts and as a mental health professional and researcher. As a Doctor of Philosophy with a thesis in education, Mark uses health education to foster systemic change and advocacy for patients/consumers. Mark uses his own real and authentic stories of mental health to help people with complex and chronic issues of distress. Mark has published academically on diversity, education, storytelling, visual metaphor and management. Mark has also published two editions of a short guide to managing psychosis which include personal vignettes from himself and his carers. Mark has worked in software, education and events as are the careers of the three protagonists of Life Postponed. This is Mark’s first novel, and most sections are semi-autobiographical. These past experiences are re-contextualised into the pandemic conditions of 2020 which Mark understands having worked across four psych wards in this time. Without taking any stories from his patients, Mark draws from non-confidential themes at work, conversations with clinicians in other hospitals, and research from reputable academic or news sources.

About the Publisher

MadNest is a new and independent publisher in Sydney, Australia. MadNest publishes fictionalised versions of true stories of mental distress and recovery. These novels help to build mental health awareness with authentic stories that use careful omissions or fictionalised elements.

Semi-autobiographical fiction and roman-à-clef are the main mechanisms for MadNest authors to balance the need to tell detailed and genuine stories with the need to tell stories safely. Novels with rich narratives grounded in cultural symbolism or visual metaphor like Life Postponed are a particular focus.