This “truly magnificent achievement” (William H. Gass), Walter Abish’s first novel since the award-winning How German Is It, set in the high-gloss world of contemporary Mexico’s societal and intellectual elite. Eclipse Fever explores the reaches of corruption and the limits of political, economic, and cultural power. Underlying its concern with art, with emotional attachments, and with the differing needs of men and women is a perpetual current of suspense and psychological tension.
Among the multifaceted characters whose lives interlock are Alejandro, a once-prominent literary critic fallen into disfavor; his estranged wife, Mercedes, whom he suspects of openly conducting an affair with an American writer; Bonny, the writer’s runaway daughter, who is made to witness a calamitous sequence of events that culminates in murder; Preston, an American industrialist, and his sexually frustrated wife, Rita; and the unscrupulous art dealer Pech. As the lives of these people press together, as they buckle and collapse, the novel holds up a mirror to a moment in which we lived – the end of a millennium, of an era – and to the perils, temptations, and hysteria that lie just below the surface of the so-called “American century.”
“May well be one of the handful of essential American works emanating from the decade preceding the end of the second millennium.”
— Harold Bloom, Washington Post