It is 1974 and Fiona Beaumont is escaping from a failed relationship and a career in the art world that has stalled. She makes a spur of the moment decision to change direction and interacts with two generations from two very different families. The Mitchells, a service family who are constantly on the move, end up in Munich in Germany where Deutronics, a multi national electronics corporation, provides them with a lifestyle of which they could hardly have dreamed. The Robertsons from the western districts of Victoria have farmed at Casterton for four generations but their landholding future is uncertain as their only son, Tim, has a prodigious artistic talent and seems destined not to be a farmer following in his father’s footsteps.
Then there is Jeremy, a “golden boy”, the Mitchells’ eldest son whose sexual dawning, desires, and denials cause him to discover a different self. He wants to “bite off big chunks of life, chew them up, and spit out the distasteful bits”.
Slowly creeping into the consciousness of Tim, Fiona, and Jeremy is the influence of a 16th century Italian painter called Caravaggio. For all its participants life has it crossroads and culs-de-sac, some get left behind, but most go on to foster a new generation of players.
Jeff Hopkins (1950) is a retired schoolteacher. He lives in Western Australia with his two Labrador dogs, Jack and Sam. As the drama master at a private boys' school he wrote eleven original musical plays and produced and directed them at the school. In 1992 he researched and wrote a family history, 'Life's Race Well Run' and after retiring in 2006 he has written nine novels: 'Reflections' (2016), 'Artifice' (2015), 'Gnarl' (2015), 'The Spiv: The Robbie Sparrow Story' (2015), 'Impressment' (2015), 'Benedict Lovelace and the Travelling Show' (2016), 'Lord Gnarl' (2016), 'Rocking Horse Rider' (2016) and 'The Hydrographer: The Clyde Steadman Story' (2016). Jeff previously maintained he wrote entirely for pleasure, and to fill in the long summer months between football seasons. Recently he has admitted that he set himself the task of writing in a number of different genres as part of a three year programme to learn about creative writing and self publishing. He said it was like an undergraduate degree course for which there was a strict budget and work schedule. It has since become clear that the whole experiment was one of the most interesting and absorbing things he had done in his life. He continues to write.