Once upon a time, back in the late 70′s, a friend and I drove north in the dead, and I mean dead of winter, wayyyy north of Winnipeg, so that we could see a total eclipse of the Sun. We parked in a place that so flat and featureless that it seemed concave, the horizon visible 360°. We listened on shortwave radio to track the penumbra and umbra… totality.
When it came, we could see the shadow of the moon rushing towards us across the flat, white face of the Earth.
On 20 May there will be visible in the USA an annular, not total, eclipse. You might make some plans to see it if you are in the area of best viewing, or even if it is an area of partial viewing. You and your children might wind up with a great memory!
I think they describe, as many of O’Brien’s books do, the spiritual war being waged in our time.