SHORTLISTED FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES PFD YOUNG WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD 2016 SHORTLISTED FOR THE ENCORE AWARD FOR BEST SECOND NOVEL 2015
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 Conroy (known as Knell) 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. Emily St. John Mandel
A curious and bewitching book that manages to be both profoundly moving and as gripping and unputdownable as a thriller. Outstanding. S. J. Watson
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. Ned Beauman
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. Charles Yu
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 A flawless meditation on creativity and the psychic toll it takes. Not only is it beautifully written, but there's a bloody good twister of a plot that rewards you well beyond the final page. Jessie Burton
The Ecliptic traces a compelling dual arc through the 1960s art world and the psyche of a talented but traumatized artist. Mysterious and filled with beautiful imagery, the novel transports us to a secret, slightly surreal, and increasingly strange artist colony, before finally revealing—in its breakneck final pages—the full extent to which life takes a toll on art, and art takes a toll on life. Amanda Filipacchi
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
A beautiful book. 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