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Master of the Eclipse, The
Etel Adnan

published 2009 • 5 ¼” x 8” • 168 pages
ISBN 9781566567794 • paperback • $15.00

Winner of the Arab American National Museum's 2010 Arab American Book Awards

Etel Adnan was given the Lifetime Achievement award by the Radius of Arab American Writers Inc. (RAWI)

“‘What are poets for in these destitute times?’ Etel Adnan asks through Hölderlin’s voice, and then answers in prose through her own. It is a prose of uncanny elegance and skepticism and conscience which voices what chokes us into silence, as it asks: what do we make of our tourists of war—professors, directors, journalists—and whom do we imagine for their subjects? How do we re-name, as if the facts call for us to be astonished, ‘the beings wearing bulletproof jackets,’ the masters playing the empathy card with their victims, the stateless living among the over-sated?

In Master of the Eclipse, Etel Adnan names the relations between innocence and power, the isolation they mark within our hearts and houses and inside our States—from anonymously entangled bodies cruising the yellow cabs of New York to French nuns bearing their invisible Fathers to the schoolgirls of Beirut. Always, Adnan’s invocation is an invitation to 'but listen' beyond the omnipresent news to the waves of love and sorrow which no radio, virtual or otherwise, can announce to the over-informed. The medium, then, is the storyteller as poet as vigilant angel, inhabiting visible and invisible realities with radiant, enduring tales of mythic time for our time.” —Benjamin Hollander

The Lebanese-American poet, artist, and public intellectual Etel Adnan is the author of more than a dozen books. Her groundbreaking novel Sitt Marie Rose is one of the defining narratives of the Lebanese civil war.

Click here to read a sample story (published in Fence magazine).

Master of the Eclipse was selected by Hans Ulrich Obrist (Director of the Serpentine Gallery, London) for '5 Books: the Best 5 books on everything.'
Click here
to read the segment.

Media Reviews

"The dozen lyrically descriptive stories in this eclectic collection by Lebanese-born poet and novelist Adnan range over a startling period of time and place, from 1930s Beirut through early '60s San Francisco to the first Gulf War...wise, reflective...richly textured...these powerful emotional tales seem almost magically wrought."
—Publishers Weekly

“An exquisite sensibility (a cross between the mysticism of such great medievals as Rabia and Hildegaard of Bingen and the American lucidity of Emily Dickinson or Lorinne Niedecker) generously infuses Adnan’s evocative prose.”
—Ammiel Alcalay, The Nation
“Adnan displays a remarkable sensibility for the precise details that fuse the landscapes of individual and social nightmares… [She] has attained a unique poetic voice.”
—The San Francisco Chronicle

“Lebanese-American author and poet Etel Adnan presents "Master of the Eclipse", an anthology of short stories reflecting the shadow that war and death cast upon individual lives. At times dark, giving an all-too-human glimpse of the difficulties of coping with loss, "Master of the Eclipse" nonetheless also gives voice to the human desire to persevere. Elements of autobiography and the author's all-too-thorough familiarity with the Lebanese Civil War are reflected in this brief yet overwhelmingly compelling tales. Highly recommended, especially to modern world literature shelves.”
—Wisconsin Bookwatch, Midwest Book Review

“The subtle, unseen forces that shape our world and connect us to one another are brought to light in this collection of short stories. This book covers a wide geographic territory…as well as a vast emotional territory, acknowledging the complexity of heartbreak, regret, disillusionment, loyalty, and belief...This collection reveals a wise, sympathetic, and philosophical author bearing witness to the wide range of human experience.”
—Multicultural Review

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