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3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  719 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
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 so uncertain 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 widowe
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 5th 2002 by Vintage (first published October 1st 2000)
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Sep 16, 2015 Dolors rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The stranger in you
Recommended to Dolors by: Axel Vander
Alexander Cleave, outworn actor whose glory days are gone, sets the elegiac tone of his first person narrative as part of the setting of a performance ill-omened from the start. There is little in terms of plot line in this introspective journey into the mind of a tormented character that assimilates the structure of a Shakespearean tragedy. Like a deft snake charmer, Banville reconstructs the inner purgatory of a man in five acts, leaving no space for cathartic redemption or hopeful light at th ...more
Nov 08, 2015 Gary rated it it was amazing
Shelves: narrative, identity
Eclipse is the first novel in John Banville's father-and-daughter trilogy involving Alexander and Cass Cleave. (Other novels in the trilogy include Shroud and Ancient Light.) Banville has a talent for luminous writing, as exemplified by Alexander Cleave's description of his estranged and possibly schizophrenic daughter: "Indeed, such was her calm at times that she would seem to be not there at all, to have drifted off, lighter than air. It is a different air in which she moves, a separate medium ...more
Vit Babenco
Jan 21, 2016 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing
John Banville is a marvelous raconteur and he mesmerized me with his language right from the first sentence.
“A spasm of sweetish sadness made my mind droop; I thought perhaps Lydia was right, perhaps I am a sentimentalist. I brooded on words. Sentimentality: unearned emotion. Nostalgia: longing for what never was.”
And nonetheless Eclipse is very nostalgic… It is an elegy of the irreversibility of the past… The memory full of bygone shadows and bitterness of disappointments… The fear of the futu
Ioannis Anastasiadis
..ο Αλεξαντερ Κλιβ, φτασμένος ηθοποιός του θεάτρου, αποφασίζει να εγκαταλείψει επ' αόριστον την σκηνή κ την οικογένεια του κ να καταφύγει στο πατρικό του σπίτι κ να υποδυθεί έναν άλλον κ πιο απαιτητικό ρόλο, την ανάγνωση της θρυμματισμένης του ταυτότητας ..το επώδυνο και γλυκερό ανασκαλεμα του παρελθόντος, η επακόλουθη υπαρξιακή αναζήτηση, η μοιραία καταβύθιση στην Αβυσσο της ψυχής, η καταγραφή ονείρων και η επισήμανση ανείδωτων μορφών, ο αδόκητος θάνατος, η ψυχική διαχείριση της απώλειας, αποτε ...more
La crítica es unánime: "...resplandor nabokoviano...aspereza beckettiana...Banville tiene muy pocos rivales...el escritor en lengua inglesa más inteligente, el estilista más elegante..." También es admirado por otros escritores: "...Banville es grande porque desciende al fondo más oscuro de la existencia..." (Claudio Magris); "Es un maestro, y su prosa es un deleite incesante." (Martin Amis)... Y así podría seguir y seguir, los halagos para Banville no tienen fin.

No cabe ninguna duda, John Banvi
Jul 17, 2010 Teresa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful writing with unique images throughout -- the best of the images having to do with feelings and emotions, things you recognize and see in a different way through the author's eyes.

The beginning of the novel is a long set-up to a worthy second half that had me reflecting back to the beginning. But I felt much of it was just too much. Many times I wondered what he was getting at with all the descriptions -- I'm sure something, but it wasn't always clear.

This is my first Banville and I'll
Mar 03, 2008 S. rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who can read.
Recommended to S. by: michael m.
Shelves: read-in-2008
Banville is such an excellent writer that I'm surprised how few people seem to have read him, or how few talk about him. His vocabulary is gorgeous, and I find myself not only writing down words I don't know but also writing down words I do know because he uses them so well. He is somewhat heartless with his readers; there's little consolation to be found, but I can dig that.
Jun 14, 2015 Hamish rated it really liked it
Shelves: lit
I'm now kind of embarrassed about my previous Banville reviews, where I harped on his similarities to Nabokov and basically characterized him as extremely talented but inherently unoriginal. The more Banville I read the more I appreciate him and realize that, aside from a love of poetic language and fascination with unsavory people, he and Nabokov are nothing alike.

Most of Banville's novels, however, are very much alike (hopefully this is not also an observation I will later regret). There are g
Mar 05, 2013 Sheila rated it liked it
I laughed when I read one review that called this book a word pile collapsing into a jumble. Banville is one of those writers whose words are gorgeous (Life is everywhere, even in the stones, slow, secret, long enduring), but there's a niggling joker on your shoulder groaning and snorting over the meandering, apparently directionless journey those words take you on. Oh, god, the Irish, it says, what masters of misery! all pallid, jiggling flesh and backed up drains.

That, of course, is part of B
Nov 29, 2007 Daniel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Banville's writing is very lyrical, and one can enjoy the simplest of descriptions. Sometimes, however, the descriptions get in the way of the progress of the story. Any time I encounter writing in which paragraphs run longer than two pages, I begin to wonder if the paragraph is filled with description or advancing story. The best writing, I believe, should be an appropriate balance between the two.

This book was difficult to follow at times, though I've come to see that it is set up as a five-ac
Jul 01, 2016 David rated it it was amazing
Spurred on by a review of Banville's Shroud by my Greek Goodreads friend, I picked up Eclipse. This is the first of the informal trilogy that includes Ancient Light (the third book) which I read recently and thoroughly enjoyed. I have also read The Sea and to no surprize, I enjoyed Eclipse as well.

Banville is an elegant, poignant and heart-breaking writer. Different than Julian Barnes but in the same league. He captures simple things, a moment, a glance, an ancient light (yes he used this term t
Sep 15, 2014 J. rated it liked it
Shelves: irish, fiction
Alexander Cleave our unreliable narrator is an actor who after being struck down by a nervous breakdown returns to the old family home to face the ghosts of his past. He discovers that the house is not as abandoned as he assumed it would be.

Relations have strained between himself and his wife Lydia and his daughter Cass. He is trying to rediscover something of his youth and by delving into his past he hopes to discover something about who he is now. We sink into the mire of his psychological co
Priscilla Campos
Mar 14, 2015 Priscilla Campos rated it it was amazing
Completamente tomada pela escrita de Banville. Caminho sem volta, tenho certeza.
E como foi interessante ler "Stoner", íntegro, silencioso, conciso para, semanas depois, estar em contato com Alex, tão ferino e lânguido. Duas construções de personagem belíssimas e diametralmente opostas, tanto do ponto de vista da linguagem quanto da temática. Dois romances para lembrar que são vários os "mundos abandonados por Deus", dos quais falava Lukács.
James Barnard
Dec 23, 2015 James Barnard rated it really liked it
Now that I’ve read a few of John Banville’s books, I can see a few recurring motifs at play, and on that basis, ‘Eclipse’ is probably the archetypal Banville novel. This is the tale of a self-centred, washed-up old actor who’d been unable to fully give of himself to anyone, who decides to cut himself off from the world by returning to his childhood home in order to ‘find himself’. His preoccupation with himself, and the ways in which his previous experiences may have informed his self-consciousl ...more
Michael Battaglia
Mar 19, 2014 Michael Battaglia rated it it was amazing
Judging by the cover of the book, the title should be "Thursday Nights at the Hefner Household". I hate to disappoint people who rely on their book covers to give them an accurate reflection of the contents, there is no rich people's blind grope-a-thon party taking place here. If that should sour your prejudgement of the novel, then so be it. At least someone was kind enough to warn you.

There are times I think that Banville reads with utter glee the reviews of his own novels, rubs his hands toge
Debbie Robson
Feb 23, 2013 Debbie Robson rated it it was amazing
I chose this book for a very strange reason which I will blog about soon. The reason - to clear my head of my own prose before completing the last two drafts of my manuscript. I'm not in a position yet to decide yet whether this worked but if I go on to read the other two books in the trilogy - I'm guessing by then the answer will be yes.
Because of course - as most readers of Banville know - he has a unique style that can be overwhelming at times. Reading his book The Sea was actually like being
Martin Boyle
Mar 11, 2016 Martin Boyle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
I wish I could have liked this book more. The writing is impeccable, you can hear the voice of Alexander Cleave, ex-actor, and the prose is precise and leads you through the story as he escapes back into his past.

Yet..., yet....Somehow I just found the story too long, too spun out, with too little to grab me into the soul of the novel: I felt like a not very interested spectator. The climax, when it came, was, for me, less the neat rounding off of a long-awaited suspense, more the anticlimax of,
Johnny Leavesley
Jan 17, 2014 Johnny Leavesley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One doesn't read John Banville for the story but for the language. This is a densely layered construction exploring the themes of loss, memory, relationships and the ego in isolation. The story is secondary, almost irrelevant to most parts. The narrator searches his past and circumstance occasionally happens in the present rather than there being any sort of plot. Having so recently finished it I feel almost too close to be able to judge it with clear perspective. Slightly overlong for the effec ...more
Feb 07, 2016 Triinu rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-loetud
Raamatu peategelane on näitleja, kes lahkub lavalt. Ta läheb tagasi oma lapsepõlvekoju, et tagasi tõmbuda ja mõtiskleda oma elatud elu üle. Vanas majas elavad koos temaga igasugused mälestused ja viirastused ja majavalvur koos tütrega. Nende seal elamisest saab ta pooljuhuslikult teada, kuigi ise elab seal samas.
Alguses uimane ja sünge raamat. Lõpp oli natuke parem, aga ikkagi sünge.
Nicholas Andreosky
Feb 07, 2015 Nicholas Andreosky rated it really liked it
This was my first Banville work. Honestly, at first it was a tough slog. The narrator was self-indulgent, pompous, unlikeable. The writing, because of the narrator perhaps, was woefully over-descriptive. Then about eighty pages in, the story begins to take shape. It happens slowly, without events really. As reality becomes more evident, the narrative becomes more direct, and the tenuous relationships between these characters begin to make some sense. By the end I was riveted. It was not at all w ...more
Jose Duarte Rodriguez
Apr 12, 2015 Jose Duarte Rodriguez rated it it was ok
John Banville escribe muy bien,eso es innegable,pero a mi el libro se me hizo eterno e interminable,y eso que sólo son 224 páginas....Supongo que no me pillo en el momento adecuado,pero para los que esperen mucho argumento desde luego éste no es el libro.Es más una introspección de un personaje a lo largo de todo un libro.
Joanna Forbes
Aug 13, 2015 Joanna Forbes rated it it was amazing
Shelves: borrowed, e-book
Imagine. About a month ago I was only vaguely aware of John Banville.

I love the words and the way he puts them together. I've never looked up so many iffy words to make sure I had them right, so as not to lose the full effect of them all together. I tend to be a reader who consumes the page for the story, and the words and sentences are a means to the end. Here, the construction of the story was almost as engrossing as the plot. I read and re-read sections, word by word, almost like turning a b
Jan 13, 2012 Lobstergirl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nafissatou Diallo
Shelves: own, fiction
Fairly ornate writing, but to what end? There wasn't one character, or a single mood, emotion, or sentence that gripped me. Or even made me pleased to be reading. Just one of an endless stream of examples of why most contemporary literary fiction is not for me.
Jul 16, 2009 Yak rated it did not like it
I gave up about a quarter of the way through. Banville's writing style is so mannered and affected, showing off with obscure words like Buckley... how about some real characters and dialogue instead of hyper-erudite descriptions from a self-absorbed narrator?
Elaine Kozak
May 31, 2014 Elaine Kozak rated it it was amazing
Astonishingly beautiful prose effectively evokes the hollowing out of a man's soul.
May 01, 2013 Tom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, english, ireland
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 presen
Kristine Brancolini
Feb 02, 2013 Kristine Brancolini rated it really liked it
I read John Banville's Cleave/Vander trilogy backward, starting with Ancient Light, then reading Shroud, and ending with Eclipse. This first book, which introduced Alex Cleave, his wife Lydia, and his daughter Cass, is the least satisfying of the three, but John Banville continues to be my new obsession nonetheless. Those who love his work often comment about the beauty of his prose; I completely agree. Eclipse brings 50-year-old Alex Cleave, a stage actor who believes his career is finished, ba ...more
Tracy Canuck
Jan 06, 2015 Tracy Canuck rated it liked it
Throughout the book I kept wondering what it was actually *about* but this time around it didn't matter so much because I was actually enjoying his writing. He sure gets off on tangents and doesn't stick to one thought for long. He also has a great love of commas. Their overuse would have bothered me in the past but this time I appreciated his sentence structure more. His writing is picturesque and descriptive, for sure.
Ilyhana Kennedy
Dec 31, 2014 Ilyhana Kennedy rated it liked it
'Eclipse' is well written though laborious. There is something about a totally introverted narcissistic character that makes the reading a plod.
However, it is a revealing study of an identity crisis, written with an obvious assurance. Banville demonstrates an almost intimate knowledge of the archetypal phenomena displayed by a psyche unable to maintain cohesion.
Feb 28, 2016 Kathy rated it it was amazing
Banville is truly one of the finest wordsmiths working today. His carefully chosen words read like poetry. His insights into the human psyche ring true. I reread pages just because they were so beautifully written. Highly recommend him to serious readers.
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Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland. His father worked in a garage and died when Banville was in his early thirties; his mother was a housewife. He is the youngest of three siblings; his older brother Vincent is also a novelist and has written under the name Vincent Lawrence as well as his own. His sister Vonnie Banville-Evans has written both a children's novel and a reminiscence of growing up ...more
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“The big rippled sheets of glass were taken out of their sacking and lowered from the back of the wagon, and for a few giddy moments a troupe of rubbery dwarves and etiolated giants shimmied and shivered in those depthless caskets. of light.” 1 likes
“¿Qué tienen esos momentos intemporales que luego siempre se recuerdan con una dulce melancolía? A veces me parece que es en esos intervalos de vacío, sin que fuera consciente de ello, cuando he vivido de manera más real y auténtica.” 1 likes
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