The Ecliptic

The Ecliptic
Genre : Fiction
Published : 2 Jul 2015 - Simon & Schuster
The mesmerising new novel from the acclaimed author of The Bellwether Revivals: a rich and immersive story of love, obsession, creativity and disintegration. On a forested island off the coast of Istanbul stands Portmantle, a gated refuge for beleaguered artists. There, a curious assembly of painters, architects, writers and musicians strive to restore their faded talents. Elspeth 'Knell' Conroy is a celebrated painter who has lost faith in her ability and fled the dizzying art scene of 1960s London. On the island, she spends her nights locked in her blacked-out studio, testing a strange new pigment for her elusive masterpiece. But when a disaffected teenager named Fullerton arrives at the refuge, he disrupts its established routines. He is plagued by a recurring nightmare that steers him into danger, and Knell is left to pick apart the chilling mystery. Where did the boy come from, what is 'The Ecliptic', and how does it relate to their abandoned lives in England?


A stunning novel. In his protagonist, Wood has created one of the most human and moving characters in recent fiction, and his depiction of the 1960s London art world is as compelling as his eerie vision of an artists’ colony that exists outside of the rules of the modern world. A gorgeous and harrowing work."<br />

Emily St. John Mandel, author of STATION ELEVEN

Wood is the real deal: scrupulous in his choice of words, adroit with plot, assiduous about drawing character and engagingly pursuing an ambitious theme. On this last point, THE ECLIPTIC is one of the most absorbing explorations of the artistic process that I’ve ever read in fiction… I want to celebrate this book because it is rich, beautiful and written by an author of great depth and resource who is clearly giving his all in the service of that most taxing of artistic endeavours: the writing of a fine novel.

Edward Docx, The Guardian

Deftly combining detached humour with tragic overtones, The Ecliptic is both a compelling story and an absorbing meditation on the creative process.

Zoe Apostolides, Financial Times

Spectacularly engrossing… A richly compelling and playful story of love and creativity.

Cathy Rentzenbrink, The Bookseller

An exhilarating, earthy, cerebral, frank and unflinching portrait of a fictional artist… No pale shadow of Wood's excellent debut novel, THE BELLWETHER REVIVALS, this soars like some exotic creature over the Sea of Marmara, a compelling read… The twist approached breathlessly by the reader in what is also a masterfully paced and suspenseful read, reveals that we have been privy to an intensely intimate portrait of an artist as a young woman, with truths on every page.

Rebecca Morrison, The Independent

Masterpiece about love and art."<br />


[A] beautiful book. Set in part on an artists’ island refuge near Istanbul, it’s about the two most unwieldy kinds of alchemy, art and love. The bold intelligence of the voice would have been enough to sustain the book, but it also provides all the pleasures of obsessions, rich detailing of the Sixties world and plot-twists.

Katherine Rundell, Telegraph Best Books for Summer 2015

[A]n intelligent examination of creativity, psychology, and a riveting mystery.

Max Liu, Independent

In THE ECLIPTIC, it is artistic endeavour and the mystery of inspiration that conjure up the drama and emotion in a wonderfully written, beautifully detailed, hallucinogenic novel… Wood adds layer upon layer to this enigmatic second novel. There are the carefully researched practicalities of painting, a lovely list of unfamiliar ingredients and processes that transform blank canvases into vivid portraits, landscapes or abstracts. There is joy when it comes together and a brittle bitterness when it doesn’t.

Eithne Farry, Sunday Express, 5/5

A perfect, frighteningly realised tour through the tortured creative mind.


Although the novel is statelier than Wood’s debut, he has lost none of his ability to combine suspense with striking images… Wood’s fiction is playfully experimental, but never loses sight of its primary purpose: to entertain.

Philip Womack, The Telegraph

Here is such an intense evocation of the hell of creativity that one might begin to wonder whether art is even worth it. Well, yes, it is, case in point being the novel itself; whatever debilitating mental toll it must have taken on Benjamin Wood to sustain such vividness and intelligence for its entire length, we can all be grateful for the result. Terrific.


A profoundly moving and gripping tale about the power – and cost – of great art. –

Alex Preston, author of THIS BLEEDING CITY

A thrilling novel that combines fine writing with a propulsive plot, The Ecliptic will rightly appeal to fans of Patricia Highsmith and Donna Tartt. It confirms Benjamin Wood’s place as one of Britain’s best young writers.

Jonathan Lee, author of WHO IS MR. SATOSHI?

Exceptional and beguiling, never less than in the ascendant from the first page to the last. The kind of book that will keep revealing its powers for a long time to come.

David Whitehouse, author of THE MOBILE LIBRARY

Another Benjamin Wood tour de force. – John Ironmonger, author of The Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder


Exquisitely well-made – not so much written as it is carved by the sharpest of instruments. Dense blocks of gorgeous prose, sculpted so that every edge, line and surface reveals the intelligence within… A highly pleasurable and thought-provoking meditation on art and creativity.


I cannot recommend it highly enough. Head-spinningly good.

Nicci Cloke, author of LAY ME DOWN

I absolutely adored this phenomenal book… Half set in an artist’s retreat on a Turkish island and half in the art world of 1960s London, this is so cleaver and beautifully written but also so emotionally satisfying. For fans of Kate Atkinson and Eleanor Catton.

Anna James, A Case for Books blog

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