HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Have you checked out SantaThing, LibraryThing's gift-giving tradition?
dismiss
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

Eclipse (2000)

by John Banville

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Alexander Cleave Trilogy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6121127,821 (3.5)7
Alexander Cleave has never been able to rid himself of the feeling that he is in a perpetual state of being watched, even when alone. So he became an actor and successfully performed his way through life until suddenly, at the peak of his career, he corpsed in the middle of the last act and staggered off stage, never to return. Self-banished to his childhood home and cut off from his wife, Cleave begins to unravel the past and disinter his own identity.… (more)
None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 7 mentions

English (10)  Dutch (1)  All languages (11)
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
TO REPLACE - misprints / pages missing
  aperteDeVue | Apr 3, 2016 |
This John Banville novel shares a time-frame and characters with his book Shroud. I read Shroud first (about ten years ago), although Eclipse was the first of the two to be published. They have a single development in common for their respective endings, so that no matter in which sequence one might read them, the first will "spoil" the second in some measure. In neither case should that be a problem, though. The value of both books is in their language, the interior dramas of their first-person central characters (I hesitate to use the word "protagonist," particularly for Shroud), and the ways in which understandings dawn on them.

Eclipse is gentler by far than its sequel. Alex Cleave is a stage actor in the twilight of his career. His marriage is failing, and he returns to stay in the empty boarding house that he had inherited from his mother. In this place, he is subjected to a variety of hauntings. He has profound feelings of loss, but he is seeking solitude to identify their object, which remains obscure to him. As in Shroud (and even more so the novel which Banville wrote after that, the award-winning The Sea) much of the text consists of the reminiscences of an older man immersing himself in a nostalgic solitude.

This might be my least favorite of the Banville novels I've read to date, but it's still impressive and engaging.
4 vote paradoxosalpha | Jul 7, 2015 |
Procrastination of scholarly work made sure I had to read this book in a very short amount of time. Some nuances will probably be lost on me, but I think I got the gist of it. 'Eclipse' is written in a very lyrical style, resulting in some absolutely ridiculous sentences, but at the same time creating a rather speficic rhythm that serves the story quite nicely.

The story itself is about an actor called Alexander, a rather disjointed figure who has never actually managed to live in the real present day world. Symbolically, he abandons everything to live in the house where he was raised, a house that is somewhat haunted. One could argue the real ghosts are the living - they are the people who seem out of place in the novel. Identity is very problematic in this book. Every character is marked by a big empty void, a lack of motivation/inspiration/etc. Fascinating, but not really a book that will leave you smiling.

Which, of course, doesn't mean you should avoid this novel. It's quite well written and has some interesting ideas. Probably won't leave a lasting impression though. ( )
  WorldInColour | Oct 12, 2013 |
As always, the prose is utterly amazing. A man examining his life in his childhood home, visited by ghosts. No plot, no resolution; perhaps that's life but it makes for a slow read. I thought Shroud, the second in this trilogy, is much stronger. ( )
  ghefferon | Nov 28, 2012 |
Maybe I should've realized when first reading ECLIPSE 12 years ago (or at least after reading SHROUD in 2002) that Alex Cleave would become Banville's next Freddy Montgomery, but it took the publication of ANCIENT LIGHT for that realization to dawn. (Not to mention that I'd forgotten altogether that the name Quirke had occurred prior to Banville's Benjamin Black incarnation. Some Banville student I've turned out to be.) But to belatedly attempt to get straight on things as I'm rereading...

ECLIPSE features vain but broken actor Cleave in the immediate aftermath of his disgrace--forgetting his lines and leaving the stage--a disgrace that seems very far away in ANCIENT LIGHT. It will seem very far away at the end of this novel, too, because this plot illuminates (from Cleave's point of view) the moment of his daughter Cass's suicide (10 years' past at the time of ANCIENT LIGHT). There are events in life that eclipse everything; Cass's death is one of those.

The entire novel functions as a kind of premonition. A shamed exile from his own life, Cleave has returned to his childhood home to, in Banville's complex figuration, both escape and find himself. What he finds is a weirdly un-empty house. His caretaker Quirke and Quirke's slovenly 15-year-old daughter Lily have taken up stealthy residence. Also lurking on the property are the ghosts of a young woman and her child. An awkward father-daughter-ish relationship develops between Cleave and Lily--a sorry shadow of the desperate relationship with Cass that he's struggling to comprehend (and forgive himself for). He even spies on Quirke--the comic parent to his thespian tragedian.

His relentlessly mixed feelings for his mentally distressed, impossibly difficult daughter are a constant torment to him. But his preoccupation with nursing his own fragile but monumental ego keeps his connections to others tenuous at best. A perfect symbol of this is the telephone he has ripped from the wall, the better to contemplate his identity crisis and obsessions--including his daughter. Meanwhile, the only traditional "plot" element (late in the novel) is Cass's last, broken and desolate attempt to phone.

Phone calls play an intriguing role throughout--especially a mysterious call from someone in Cass's mysterious life. Is this Axel Vander, narrator of the novel-to-come, SHROUD? We can't know at the time ECLIPSE was published and first read. The premonitory ghosts, of course, are those of Cass and her unborn child.

Why do we always end up feeling as though Banville, the master holding all the cards, planned his body of work a long, long time ago? (There's even a reference to the artist Vaublin's pierrot from GHOSTS--speaking of Freddy Montgomery....) ( )
1 vote beaujoe | Oct 15, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Banvilleprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sterre, Jan Pieter van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Belongs to Series

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Alexander Cleave has never been able to rid himself of the feeling that he is in a perpetual state of being watched, even when alone. So he became an actor and successfully performed his way through life until suddenly, at the peak of his career, he corpsed in the middle of the last act and staggered off stage, never to return. Self-banished to his childhood home and cut off from his wife, Cleave begins to unravel the past and disinter his own identity.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.5)
0.5
1 5
1.5 2
2 2
2.5 4
3 27
3.5 17
4 35
4.5 4
5 10

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 152,536,506 books! | Top bar: Always visible