The Dark Eclipse:
Reflections on Suicide and Absence
A. W. Barnes
LISTEN to today's conversation with A.W. Barnes
“Barnes brilliantly understands the memoirist’s spiritual prerogative—we are able to bring the dead back to life in our prose. We can take the pictures off the wall and make them dance; we can take the facts of dry documents and make them into vivid stories. The Dark Eclipse is a beautiful example of this.”
—Susan Cheever, author of Home Before Dark and Note Found in a Bottle: My Life as a Drinker
The Dark Eclipse is a book of personal essays in which author A.W. Barnes seeks to come to terms with the suicide of his older brother, Mike. Using source documentation—police report, autopsy, suicide note, and death certificate—the essays explore Barnes’ relationship with Mike and their status as gay brothers raised in a large conservative family in the Midwest. In addition, the narrative traces the brothers’ difficult relationship with their father, a man who once studied to be a Trappist monk before marrying and fathering eight children. Because of their shared sexual orientation, Andrew hoped he and Mike would be close, but their relationship was as fraught as the author’s relationship with his other brothers and father. While the rest of the family seems to have forgotten about Mike, who died in 1993, Barnes has not been able to let him go. This book is his attempt to do so.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
A.W. BARNES has a Ph.D. in English Literature and an MFA in Creative Writing. His nonfiction has appeared in Broad Street, The Away Journal, Gertrude Press, and Sheepshead Review. His academic book Post-Closet Masculinities in Early Modern England was published by Bucknell University Press in 2009. He lives in New York City.