The Eclipse of the Century
A young man has a near-death experience and finds himself at the end of a long tunnel. He is greeted by strangers who say they are expecting him "under a black sun at the end of a thousand years" and that the place is called Qantoum. He discovers that Qantoum is a town in deepest Asia.
Every now and then, a children's book publisher presents a new novel which surpasses the expectations of a good read for kids and pushes it into the realms of the grown-ups. The Eclipse of the Century is one of those books.
Written for older children with a fascination for the future, Jan Mark has produced an epic, intricate and timely novel which takes the world's two main obsessions - a total eclipse of the sun and our entry into a new millennium - and has turned them into a totally compelling read that will enthral as many adults as it will younger readers.
Keith, a young man taking a break from university, has a near death experience which leads him to take a journey to the mysterious Qantoum, a town no one has ever heard of in the deepest, emptiest heart of Asia. There he meets a cast of characters who befriend him and gently push him forward on his journey towards the new century.
Written with a stylish, dry, wit, Keith's adventure - unnerving and eerily dreamlike, yet at the same time uncannily linked with a reality that is at once terrifyingly complex and comfortably simple - takes the reader on a tour of a place which could well hold the key to the future, and perhaps is not as far away from the truth as we would like to believe.
A dream of a book for anyone with a love of good writing packed with imagination, humour and detail that can at times make the eyes water, The Eclipse of the Century is a must-have for anyone, whatever their age and beliefs, who wonders what the future may hold. (Ages 12 and over). - Susan Harrison