Memory, prophecy and fantasy - the past, the future and the dreaming moment between - are all in one country, living one immortal day. To know that is Wisdom To use it is the Art. Everville Five years ago, in his bestseller The Great and Secret Show , Clive Barker mesmerized millions of readers worldwide with an extraordinary vision of human passions and possibilities. Welcome to a new volume in that epic adventure.
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Nice review, now you've made me want to read the series. How did you like The Great and Secret Show? Can somebody please explain to me why I should finish The Damnation Game? I mean the words are fine, the atmosphere is holding, I DO wonder what the denouement will be but Jesus, it's the definition of turgid. Maybe I'm missing out on a shit-ton of great material I dunno.
Do you reommend I start out here instead? But generally I can recommend any Barker. Problem is, he still has not written the third volume in this series, after 20 years! Adam - that's too bad you feel that way, because I've read TDG two or three times and liked it. It's definitely the weakest of his novels tho. Try "Cabal" if you haven't, another short novel. I have heard other readers who love his short fiction complain about his longer works, so you're not alone there. Brian - Don't start here!
For the last couple years I've been rereading Barker chronologically, so you should read "Hellbound Heart" and "Cabal" next, ease into his novels Will — as an admirer of your blog and your abilities as a reviewer, there was something early in your review that elicited a not-so-small cringe.
Not for nothing, but the fact that you suffered "smirks and sneers" from your "'literary' acquaintances" can be easily explained by your review itself. That you feel the need to elevate Barker above a "mere horror writer" implicitly perpetuates the marginalization of Horror and its writers. His greatness as a writer was cemented with his earliest works, which would only need categorization beyond "Horror" to protect them from the genre's critical stigma. The Books of Blood are great "pure" horror to the same extent that any great genre fiction is great "pure" Which is to say not really pure, since no single genre can support great narrative.
But it is in only Horror fiction that we insist on identifying all the contributing secondary genres to separate it from its sorry central defining characteristic. Indeed, we are compelled to explicitly dismiss the Horror tag outright. It is sad that to call something "great horror fiction" is to damn it with faint praise.
Greatness shouldn't be handicapped by genre. I recognize that this is an old review, and I rarely see this kind of defensiveness in your other reviews. But I thought that the contrast between your lamentation and your perpetuation of that sad literary standard was noteworthy.
JP W - Thanks for the comment! I appreciate your thoughtful and perceptive explication of my "defensiveness. It seemed this stuff did not, however, fascinate the few other horror fiction fans I knew or came in contact with I couldn't listen to the questions Barker fans asked him at horror conventions, such as "What kind of shoes does Pinhead wear?
When I was in my late teens and early 20s, Barker broadened my horizons about film, literature, and art, in a way few others ever have for me - so that defensiveness was borne of some very real frustrations I felt! But all that is many years ago now. Today, if this blog is any indication - and I hope it is, even if I sometimes get snarky about ridiculous cover art or terrible yet popular writers - I have left that insecurity behind.
My tastes are my own and don't need to be justified. I want to celebrate the books and writers I love! Again, thanks for the great comment! All too often only the basest qualities of the genre are promoted, and only the most trivial details are celebrated. You are fully justified in being defensive. By and large, I think that your blog is a testament to the latter. Which is also why, while I will concede that horror takes the prize as the potentially worst genre, it also can claim the title of potentially best as well.
Adam, I too got bored with The Damnation Game, although when I first got back into reading all I cared about was the stack of King novel's that I could have been reading instead. I just remembered it seeming to take forever for something to happen and I abandonded it midway. That being said I'll give it another go for sure. As for this review, I Liked the Great and Secret Show but was in no hurry to read Everville being such a lover of book covers, a red book with a sea-shell didn't really excite me but this review really motivates me to read it soon.
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Clive on Everville
Everville is a fantasy novel by British author Clive Barker. It was released in and is the second in the "Book of the Art", but it also can be read alone. Everville tells the story of a small town of the same name, from its creation to transformation over the years. Several characters populate the book, some from our world and others from Quiddity, the vast universe or afterlife hinted at in the first book of the series. Noteworthy characters include detective Harry D'Amour from previous Barker works including his story "The Last Illusion" as well as a few from book one of the series. Among several new characters, mentioned in passing or detail, are the 'Shu small, squid -like beings who are described as "pieces of God" , Phoebe Cobb, a resident of the town who passionately loves Joe, a dark-skinned painter, and Seth, a gay teenager who can hear angels knocking from the other side of Heaven.
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At the crossroads Buddenbaum stared down into the ground, into the dark where the medallion lay, gathering power. The end's almost here, he thought. The end of the stories I've made and the stories I've manipulated, and those I wandered through like a bit player and those I've endured like a prisoner. The end of all my favourite cliches: tragic mismatches and farcical encounters; tearful reunions and deathbed curses. The end of once upon a time and now shall we see and can I believe my eyes? The end of final acts; of funeral scenes and curtain speeches.