The first of John Banville's novels concerning father and daughter Alexander and Cass Cleave, Eclipse is a lyrical exploration of memory, family and identity.
Alexander Cleave, actor, has left his career and his family behind and banished himself to his childhood home. He wants to retire from life, but finds this impossible in a house brimming with presences, some ghostly, some undeniably human. Memories, anxiety for the future and more particularly for his beloved but troubled daughter, conspire to distract him from his dreaming retirement.
This humane and beautifully written story tells the tragic tale of a man, intelligent, preposterous and vulnerable, who in attempting to bring the performance to a close finds himself travelling inevitably towards a devastating denouement.
This unsparing, compassionate, humane book demonstrates again that Banville is in a class of his own.
A contemporary fable of piercing sadness and melancholy beauty. . . This poetic novel deals with archetypal themes as well as painful truths about parental inadequacy and the limitations of love.
In Eclipse Banville has created another important, challenging fiction. The book is ornately written, heartless in an honest fashion, profoundly interrogative of ideas of identity and, above all, spectacularly beautiful. It is, in a way that so many contemporary novels are not, a work of art.