"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: the 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.