The American

Secrets

The Eclipse Magnolia Pictures Handsome Harry Paladin Bluebeard Strand Releasing   A candle is lighted in the dark. This is the opening shot of The Eclipse, hinting at mystery. The next shot reveals that the candle is a taper on a table in a large hotel restaurant. Thus in its first few seconds the film suggests that it will inhabit two spheres, the mysterious and the diurnal, and that the two will virtually overlap. This Irish film was adapted by the playwright Conor McPherson, who has directed several films, and by Billy Roche from Roche’s original story.

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I. Kafka is the novel’s bad conscience. His work demonstrates a purity of intention, a precision of language, and a level of metaphysical commitment that the novel partially comprehends but is unable to replicate without, in the process, ceasing to be a novel at all. Consequently, Kafka makes novelists nervous. He doesn’t seem to write like the rest of us. Either he is too good for the novel or the novel is not quite good enough for him—whichever it is, his imitators are very few. Now, why is that? Where are Kafka’s descendants? Only a handful—Borges, W.G.

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