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Eclipse: A Novelby John Banville
Synopses & Reviews
In his first novel since The Untouchable, John Banville gives us the intensely emotional story of a man discovering for the first time who he has been and what he is becoming.
Alexander Cleave—a famous actor who “took to the stage to give myself a cast of characters to inhabit who would be . . . of more weight and moment than I could ever hope to be”—faces the almost certain collapse of his thirty-year career. In physical and psychological retreat, he returns to his abandoned childhood home, believing that, away from his wife and daughter, away from the world at large, alone, without an audience of any kind, he might finally stop performing, catch himself in the act of living, and simply be.
But the house is unexpectedly populated. There are Cleave’s memories, which seem to rise up out of the house itself: of the years during his childhood when his mother took in boarders; of the beginnings, and the beginnings-of-the-end, of his career and his marriage; of the course of his relationship with his now estranged daughter; and of his father, who committed suicide when Cleave was still a boy. There are the corporeal, but illicit, inhabitants of the house: the caretaker, an unsettling presence “with the ageless aspect of a wastrel son,” and the fifteen-year-old housekeeper, a “voluptuary of indolence.” And there are the apparitions (ghosts? premonitions? visitations?)—a woman, a child, and a third, ill-defined figure—who Cleave feels are “intricately involved in the problem of whatever it is that has gone wrong with me.”
Struggling to determine what exactly has gone wrong, and to understand what part the apparitions play in his life and he in theirs, Cleave slowly comes to see the ways in which things and people—himself included—are not what they seem, and the ways in which, inevitably, they reveal what they are.
Brilliantly conjured and realized, Eclipse is John Banville at his unique best.
From the Hardcover edition.
Alexander Cleaver, famous actor with a disintegrating career, retreats to his childhood home where, in the absence of an audience, he struggles to come to terms with his memories, the unsettling presence of a caretaker and teenage housekeeper, ghosts of the past, and the future of his theatrical career and personal relationships. By the author of The Untouchable. Reprint. 20,000 first printing.
In this deeply moving and original book, John Banville alloys mystery, fable, and ghost story with poignant psychological acuity to forge the riveting story of a man wary of the future, plagued by the past, and souncertain in the present that he cannot discern the spectral from the real.
When renowned actor Alexander Cleave was a boy living in a large house with his widowed mother and various itinerant lodgers, he encountered a strikingly vivid ghost of his father. Now that he's fifty and has returned to his boyhood home to recover from a nervous breakdown on stage, he is not surprised to find the place still haunted.He is surprised, however, at the presence of two new lodgers who have covertly settled into his old roost. And he is soon overwhelmed by how they, coupled with an onslaught of disturbing memories, compel him to confrontthe clutter that has become his life: ruined career, tenuous marriage, and troubled relationship with an estranged daughter destined for doom.
From theTrade Paperback edition.
About the Author
John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. His first book, Long Lankin, was published in 1970. Among his other books are Nightspawn, Birchwood, The Newton Letter, Mefisto, and The Book of Evidence (which was short-listed for the 1989 Booker Prize). He has also received a literary award from the Lannan Foundation. He is the former literary editor of the Irish Times and lives in Dublin.
From the Hardcover edition.
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