Book review: The Ecliptic by Benjamin Wood

There are some books you read that you could just talk about endlessly, or write essays about. Benjamin Wood’s The Ecliptic is one of those books.

Celebrated painter Elspeth ‘Knell’ Conroy is on Portmantle, an artists’ colony off the coast of Istanbul, where she spend her time trying to create the art that once came so naturally to her. The retreat is rocked by the arrival of Fullerton, a teenage boy who is damaged and in danger, and whose presence on Portmantle affects all its residents, who pour over the mystery of why he is there, and what the link is between him and the lives the residents of Portmantle left behind in England.

This book is just utterly, utterly brilliant. I could, as I said right at the beginning, write essays about The Ecliptic, but I won’t, since the best way to experience the full effects of this book is to just read it without knowing too much. 

What I will say is that The Ecliptic is one of my favourite books of the year. It is wonderfully put together, deftly weaving between Portmantle and England, and a few other settings. It’s a story about creativity, sacrifice, truth, love and obsession, and it is addictive reading. Full of depth, the story builds like layers of paint on canvas, with the end result a stunning image you suspected was coming, but were never sure of until you stood back and saw all the colours and brushstrokes together.

In short, it’s pretty much a masterpiece.

•The Ecliptic is released in the UK on July 2, 2015.

How I got this book: From the publisher, Simon & Schuster. This did not affect my review.

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