‘Michael O’Connell is dead!’ Spanning the week of his burial, from his obituary to the wake, eight characters whose lives – some intimately, some more obliquely – have intersected his, slowly open up the carefully constructed compartments of his very private, very financially successful, life, even as they reveal themselves. A luminous story of disclosure and concealment, of love and its opposites explored in their various tones and shades, and of those who embrace life’s alternatives and those who deny them, Octet’s canvas is broad, spreading from the Wicklow Stud in the southern hinterland of New South Wales to the battlefields of New Guinea, from the ballet stages of Europe to the Business world in London, from Edinburgh to Sydney, in a timespan which reaches from the Second World War to the turn of the century. Why did Michael make the gift of the cello?
James Wieland has published books on poetry and sporting history, and articles and essays on a variety of literary topics. He was the foundation editor of Scarp, a literary magazine, and poems have been published in Patterns, Quadrant, Meanjin, Scarp, and Kunapipi, A former West Australian 100 and 200 metre sprint champion, he lives with his wife, Sally, and Burmese cat Max, by the sea in Western Australia, where he is recovering from a life in academe. He plays some golf, badly, and drinks good coffee and wine with friends, but, mostly, he writes. He is currently writing a centenary history of the University of Western Australia Boat Club and his first work of adult fiction has just been released.