"I wonder if the reverse is not also in some way true. That the artist is constantly working on anelaborate and fantasticated self-portrait, but at the end has drawn, unbeknownst, a picture of the world." -- Clive Barker, "Private Legends: An Introduction"
Clive Barker, award-winning and New York Times bestselling author, playwright, artist, producer, director, screenwriter, and one of the world's master storytellers, writing in the haunting and moving traditions of Poe and Dickens, invites us to join him on a dazzling, wondrous journey through the worlds of his imagination and to experience visions, dreams, love, terror, heaven and hell, and revenge.
As we read, we discover and explore the dream-sea Quiddity and the islands of Ephemeris; the five Dominions of the Imajica, of which the Earth is but an imperfect facet; the rapturous world woven into an ancient, threadbare carpet in a derelict house in Liverpool; Hood's Holiday House where each day contains four seasons and children's wishes may come true; the Sky Room of Galilee, where the creation of the universe may be witnessed; and the clubs and bars of San Francisco and New York, in which all manner of sexual adventures lie in wait.
In these stories, the real and the miraculous are within a breath of one another, life gives way to death, and death to life; doorways open into other states of existence, and each doorway leads us back to our own dreams and fears.
The Essential Clive Barker is an irresistible narrative compendium that superbly represents the impressive quality and range of Barker's fiction, spanning more than twenty years of writing. It contains more than seventy excerpts from novels and plays and four full-length short stories, all personally selected by Barker, and offers a privileged insight into a remarkable writer and his art.
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This 567-page sampler of Clive Barker's darkly fantastic work has an unusual format. You'd expect a huge collection of his macabre short stories (like the three 1984 Books of Blood that made his name in horror), or perhaps an omnibus of the sinisterly exotic novels in which he moved from Grand Guignol to his own warped brand of epic fantasy. Instead, here's a book of bits: 70-odd passages from novels and plays, plus four complete stories and an introduction in which our author offers glimpses of what makes him tick. The Essential Clive Barker is thematically arranged in 13 sections, each with its own brief prologue: "Doorways," "Journeys," "Visions and Dreams," "Lives," and so on. Some of these fragments are powerful and evocative, some numinous, some horrid; many are teasers to make you wonder what comes next. Reading this is like sitting through a movie-length feature composed entirely of trailers flaunting pyrotechnic effects. It's a volume for dipping into rather than swallowing whole. There are fine things here, especially the complete stories--including "In the Hills, the Cities," an unforgettable mix of surreal horror and Balkan political allegory. But aficionados will already own the books containing these excerpts, while newcomers surely prefer to begin with a complete novel or collection. A perfect present for the Barker fan who has everything else. --David Langford, Amazon.co.ukAbout the Author:
The Thief of Always is Clive Barker's first book for children. He is the internationally best-selling and award-winning author of several books for adults, including Weaveworld, Imajica, and Galilee. Mr. Barker regularly shows his art in Los Angeles and New York, and produces and directs for both large screen and small. He lives in Los Angeles.
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