[PDF.ePUB.MOBI] The Ecliptic Author Benjamin Wood – serv3.3pub.co.uk

[PDF.ePUB.MOBI]  The Ecliptic Author Benjamin Wood – serv3.3pub.co.uk ➧ [Ebook] ➢ The Ecliptic By Benjamin Wood ➲ – Serv3.3pub.co.uk 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 fa 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 s London On the island she spends her nights locked in her blacked out studio testing a strange new pigment for her elusive masterpieceBut 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.


10 thoughts on “The Ecliptic

  1. Blair Blair says:

    Review originally published at Learn This Phrase The Ecliptic I had a good feeling about this book The first time I heard about it was unsurprisingly on Twitter when those with early review copies began talking about it in reverent tones implying it would be one of the best novels of the year Naturally this excited me and naturally it made me nervous But the excitement won out enough that I suandered a whole Waterstones gift voucher on the hardback edition thinking as I did so this had better be worth it Thankfully it wasIn the first part of the book Elspeth Conroy a painter is a resident at Portmantle a refuge for artists housed on a sylvan island off the coast of Turkey Presided over by the severe provost it's a place for those who have lost touch with their muse with a strict set of rules designed in what might be seen as a contradictory fashion to remove all barriers to creative freedom This includes the creation of a new identity so Elspeth is known as 'Knell' and her closest friends MacKinney uickman and Pettifer a playwright author and architect respectively are similarly pseudonymous One joins Portmantle only by invitation and must keep every detail of its nature even its existence secret The opening scene depicts the arrival of a new member of the community Fullerton a teenage boy just a child a disruptive but very obviously fragile presence who Elspeth immediately feels maternal towardsThe second part spools back through Elspeth's history From her childhood in Clydebank to an attic in London the beginnings of success and fame and a fateful boat journey to New York her life is mapped out in scenes that flesh out her character so successfully she becomes painfully real Being disconnected from Portmantle is initially upsetting as a setting it has an irresistible pull and I'd hoped the whole story would be set there But I uickly realised our heroine's past would be just as absorbing and affecting as her present This is particularly the case when it comes to Elspeth's relationship with her erstwhile mentor Jim Culvers with whom she falls in love Architects of unconvincing romances everywhere take note this is how you do a love story It's absolutely heartbreaking The third part takes us back to PortmantleAnd that's all I can say about the plot Anything is going to spoil major revelations that come in several bursts upending each other in the final uarter of the book and while telling you what they are might not actually spoil your enjoyment because it's all so beautifully written and beautifully crafted regardless and this is a story that has twists rather than relying on them I think it's better if you don't know The Ecliptic is first and foremost a book about the hard exhausting consuming work of creating art It's a force that engulfs Elspeth's life moulds her relationships and manifests in occasional bursts of obsession and extreme fatigue that skew close to madness Portmantle purports to offer a respite from all the distractions that might divert an artist from achieving their true purpose but in the end it's those 'distractions' that make a life and Elspeth and co's time there keeps them trapped in a loop of not creating Rather than a shelter it becomes a kind of stasis Like addicts who can't leave rehab Elspeth and her friends remain on the island for years for so long they've lost track of the years despite failing to complete any of their planned masterworks The story in The Ecliptic is constantly provoking uestions about how inspiration is lost and found and what that means for the artistIf I had to compare it to something? Station Eleven and not just because a comic book plays a pivotal part While reading both books I really savoured the style yet again I want to use the words 'elegant' and 'restrained'; the characters are centre stage their development the most important thing in the novel despite the often dramatic potentially complicated story in which they are placed; style wise there is nothing over the top here nothing that really plays with conventional language but it's intelligent powerful and always has that odd little edge of implied strangeness that suggests there's something to all of this than meets the eye something just out of reach Though I should mention that The Ecliptic is definitely not dystopian or sci fi or post apocalyptic The Ecliptic itself unfolds like the process of creating a painting specifically one of Elspeth's works Layers of paint are overlaid by a magic ingredient the lustrous pigment she creates from an unusual species of mushrooms with the end result being something that can only be properly appreciated and understood in certain conditions from the correct angle in the correct light or lack of In Wood's book this moment comes in the fourth and final section when the reader can finally step back and understand how everything not only fits together but creates a glorious effect a beautifully synchronised whole


  2. Rebecca Rebecca says:

    375 Portmantle is a mysterious artists’ retreat center on a Turkish island Our narrator Elspeth Conroy aka Knell is a Scottish painter who came to Portmantle in 1962 after some struggles with mental illness The first third of the novel is tremendously gripping and Gothic The core of the book nearly 200 pages is a flashback to Elspeth’s life before At last after what feels like too long a digression we come full circle back to Portmantle I didn’t warm to The Ecliptic uite as much as I did to Wood’s debut The Bellwether Revivals Still it’s really interesting to see how he alternates between realism and surrealism here The parts that feel most real and immediate and the parts that are illusory are difficult to distinguish between An odd melancholy shape shifting novelSee my full review at Shiny New Books


  3. switterbug (Betsey) switterbug (Betsey) says:

    For the first uarter of this book I sensed a mystery tugging at the periphery but I couldn’t identify it because of the hazy and sometimes dreamlike uality of the narrative and the withholding of the book’s central focus We are introduced to uite a few characters early on in a secret seuestered art colony on a Turkish island Even getting there is fraught with secret code from burning your passport getting a Mission Impossible ish direction to the island and changing your name before you arriveOn the island we are introduced primarily to a novelist a playwright an architect and a painter each with their own uirky dispositions They have been here in Portmantle for ten years and are awaiting arrival of a new resident a 17 year old boy whose presence clearly intrigues and also shakes up the artists’ lassitude Although this is a story that starts in the 60s London art scene it soon adopts a timeless uality as we read about the various artists on Portmantle Subseuently at least one prominent character began emerging above the others the narrator Elspeth Conroy a Scottish artist in crisis like the rest of them on that island with a creative block The exceptional prose kept me going forward as I tried to figure out the center of the narrative If you can just relieve yourself of expectation and go with the flow you will find yourself immersed in a uniue haunting and complex psychological tale that continues to wrap itself around you all the while keeping you off balance“I sort of get trapped in my own head” All the artists are not unlike what you may have gathered over the years regarding creative types’ hang ups or neuroses There’s a certain eccentricity to their natures and also a pitfall of woolgathering for so long that they get buried in inertia However this art colony has an eerie uality to it—they seem as trapped on the island just as much as they are locked in their creative standstills “Something else you will not learn at art school real inspiration only turns up when your inspiration has expiredThere is no finer company than inspiration but its very goodness will leave you heartsick when it goes So do not waste time asking it to wipe its feet Embrace it at the threshold” There is also the uestion of trying to reconcile artistic loyalty to the “art” with the financial rewards of recognition and success Also what is the ecliptic? Well as described in the book it is the plane of the earth’s orbit around the sun But from earth’s eyes we perceive it as the sun moving along this plane instead Further this orbit is an imaginary circle where the sun moves through the constellations along a line known as the ecliptic “It’s a total fiction really—just a construction we came up with to help us get our heads around the complexity of it all” And how does this relate to the book? Well I’d tell you but then I’d have to spoil it So read the book keep spinning in its orbit stretch your senses to the upper limits of your imagination and be prepared for an astonishing climax


  4. David Reviews David Reviews says:

    The first thing that struck me about this book was how beautifully the writing flows The storytelling is delightful and engaging The premise that there exists a mysterious island retreat where great artists who suffer artistic block can go sponsored to recover and produce one masterpiece is intriguing The main character is a likeable painter Ms Elspeth ‘Knell’ Convoy who provides us with a fascinating story in her development as an artist Benjamin Wood has produced an exceptionally wonderfully written book in The Ecliptic that is an absolute pleasure to read and one I’m happy to recommend to youWe begin in the 1970’s when Knell is in her thirties She has lived at Pormantle on the island of Heybeliada off the Turkish coast for a decade It’s here along with her three close friends being artists of various other creative disciplines that she encounters a new arrival in seventeen year old Fullerton who disrupts their settled existence Knell experiments with pigments in an attempt to create her next great painting but Fullerton is a distraction and an enigma Then again maybe he is a key to unlock her eventual release and return of her creativityThe author explores Knells early life with an absorbing portrait of her study apprenticeship first paintings and exhibition Superbly drawn scenes and conversation pieces are sharp and seductively described Her love life and emotions brought to life believable and real We discover how Knell arrived at the artists retreat and what becomes of Fullerton From there to the end of the book things become a little shrouded in madness that maybe we associate with such creative genius This is a compulsive and beautiful novel that will indeed leave you much to ponder over


  5. Jill Jill says:

    First let’s get this out of the way what is the ecliptic? Briefly it’s the way we imagine the stars attached to a giant invisible sphere surrounding the earth “It’s a total fiction really – just a construction we came up with to help us get our heads around the complexity of it all”The same might be said about Benjamin Wood’s amazing novel The construction is the isolated and exclusive artists’ colony at the Turkish island of Portmantle There artists eschew all ties to the outside world even giving up their names Time stands still and egos are held in check as the artists concentrate on one thing only creating their next masterworkThat is the world that creatively blocked Scottish painter Elspeth Conroy known as Knell voluntarily enters Indeed the entire first book there are four books at all and the third book are set in Portmantle There is a patina of surrealism in these sections which at first called to mind John Fowles’ The Magus – a postmodern novel of a young British graduate who arrives on an exotic Greek island and is drawn into its psychological underpinnings I had already pigeon holed this novel as a somewhat fantastical yet reality based glimpse into the creative process when left alone to feed itselfHow wrong I was In the entire 200 page second section we get flashbacks of Elspeth – her life so far the cultivating of her talent the price extracted to serve that talent I have read many books in which the topic of the artist’s creativity is explored – Siri Hustvedt’s The Blazing World Deirdre Madden’s Authenticity Sue Miller’s Lake Shore Limited among others And I can comfortably say that this is the very best exploration of the artistic muse and artistic process I have read in fiction With a vaster understanding of Elspeth we then find ourselves back at Portmantle Mysteries that surfaced right from the start become profound Elspeth herself seems far complicated I will steer away from specific plot twists But I will say this the last 40 pages of this book blew me away It revealed an author who is totally in command of his craft Is anything truly as it seems? Is art itself the most real of things on this earth? Can we accept the truth and still be grateful for our artful fabrications? Read it and be amazed


  6. Eric Anderson Eric Anderson says:

    Being an artist isn’t like other professions It’s not a livelihood where the primary motivation for devoting one’s labour to it is for money or status or the simple satisfaction of a job well done or even making the world a better place Certainly these factors influence artists during their careers but the act of creating art is about realizing a vision and making something meaningful The path to inspiration is elusive Benjamin Wood’s novel “The Ecliptic” uestions what drives galvanizes and motivates artists The narrator Elspeth Conroy is stuck She’s a painter who has received acclaim for her work but the majority of her output feels like it falls short of saying anything profound On a small island off the coast of Turkey there is an artists’ retreat for those who have lost their way in whatever discipline they pursue It has a rigid code and rules designed to support them in finding their way back to inspiration Elspeth has spent many years here but does retreating from the world encourage the creation of real art or only drive her irretrievably further into herself?Read my full review on LonesomeReader review of The Ecliptic by Benjamin Wood


  7. Judy Judy says:

    I don't know how I heard about this book It was just published in the United States in May Benjamin Wood is British and as I recall I read a review or two and instantly reuested it at the library I loved it completelyIt is about the lives of contemporary artists a painter a novelist a playwright and an architect These four characters reside in an artist colony on a Turkish island Becoming a resident involves a torturous path to acceptance but one reuirement is that the artist must have had success and then somehow lost the muse of inspiration Artists at Portmantle live there all expenses paid though not in luxury until they finish a new work It is an insular existence framed by strict rules while putting no time limit on any given artist to produce something he or she feels good about sending out into the world But when that happens the artist must leaveThe main character Elspeth Conroy who also narrates the tale is a painter Painters are springing up all over in the fiction I have been reading lately She is the only one at Portmantle who rails against the rules and when an obviously disturbed 17 year old boy arrives she finds herself compulsively drawn to him and risks much to help himEventually we learn her history a study in the uncertain life of a painter and the pressures of commercial success As much as I was enthralled with the whole setup at Portmantle I became even invested in Elspeth's life storyThen came the most outlandish twist at the end and I was in awe of the talent displayed by this fairly young author If you or someone you know has ever toiled in the trenches of any of the arts you will love The Ecliptic


  8. Kasa Cotugno Kasa Cotugno says:

    Inspection of the cover at least in my edition is the first indication that this will be intriguing An exploration into the artistic muse must have relevance and crauelure upon closer look reveals pentimento underneath Layers upon layers Elspeth Conroy a Scottish painter of terrifying genius and seemingly limitless vision finds herself stymied both inspirationally and on a personal level Along with others of high reputation representing many artistic disciplines who are similarly blocked she has been at Portmantle an asylum on an island off the coast of Turkey Portmantle is a refuge for artists living out their days to only focus on producing the masterpieces they know is inside them The story spools out at a steady pace but the writing which reminded me mostly of David Mitchell and Marisha Pessl is rich densely plotted extraordinarily crafted This is a book to savor on many levels


  9. Helen Stanton Helen Stanton says:

    I would have given this 5 stars but thought the ending was a bit of a cop outno spoilers Set largely on an artists colony on a remote island in Turkey the Ecliptic has many echoes of Fowles' The Magus' How could I represent things that were themselves just representations of other people's representations?And how could I make them fit the themes of my design without contriving them?' ponders Knell the narrator a painter suffering from a block in her creative processThe world Wood has created is entirely believable and totally absorbing This is a real page turning read


  10. Bonnie Brody Bonnie Brody says:

    What is an ecliptic? That is the first thing I wanted to know when I started this novel but rather than look it up I let its meaning take shape as the book progressed It is an imaginary great circle on the celestial sphere along which the sun appears to move over the course of the year In actuality it is the earth's orbit around the sun that causes the change in the sun's apparent direction This definition by the way comes 262 pages into the novel The novel is about artists and the art they create It is also about their muses and what happens when their muses desert them Some of these artists end up on an island off the coast of Turkey in an artist's colony for those artists who have become stuck and are no longer sure that they have what it takes for greatness This colony is known as Portmantle and it was there to rescue the depleted minds of artists On it were writers painters poets actors etc All of them are supposedly working on their next great piece However there are the long termers and the short termers The short termers finish what they set out to do and leave the island The long termers continue working for god knows how long hoping that their muse reappearsThe story is told in the first person by Knell a sobriuet for the artist Elspeth Conroy who is so famous that she's had a retrospective at the Tate Museum in London She is now on Portmantle hanging out with uickman a writer of great renown Pettifer an architect who thinks day and night of the great cathedral he has yet to create and MacKinney a playwright All of them have been assigned sobriuets once they arrive on the island and it is considered bad form to refer to their real names or acknowledge their prior achievements Add to this mixture an adolescent boy named Fullerton and the dynamic gets drawn off course It is not really possible to describe this novel without spoilers so I'll leave it with the above except for some thoughts about its title The ecliptic is in my opinion a metaphor for the way artists need to see the world from within their creative perspective It is an anthropomorphic sense of reality that drives creativity and leads some artists to greatness or PortmantleThis novel is many things at many levels It is a story of art and artists love and friendship and a description of the creative process It is above all an homage to art and artists It opened my eyes to a world of beauty and epiphany that soared in its words


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