Have You Read? ‘Weaveworld’ leaps into thefantasy realm
“Weaveworld” by Clive Barker
For many years Clive Barker has offered his unusual view of the world through a variety of artistic media that include film, novels and art. From the macabre, drive-in style horror movies of the 1980s to the recent publication of his hardcover art collection “Visions of Heaven and Hell”; transitioning from an almost self-defined adult horror genre to an amazing array of young adult literature. Throughout the variety of works produced by this seasoned author, a telling feature of his talent is how comfortable he is with embracing epic scale. Where other authors might downplay or shy away from the sweeping canvas of large events, Barker seems to be drawn to stories of great scope.
Having been a fan since the days of “Hellraiser,” I fairly leapt at the chance to partake of “Weaveworld,” Clive Barker’s first foray into the fantasy genre published in 1987. Stepping out of the horror mold seems a natural progression for Barker as he moves from the frighteningly twisted visions of humanity’s darkest nightmares to the fertile ground of inter-dimensional dreams and longings. Indeed the glimpses of horror leaping out at unexpected moments bring the struggle between good and evil into sharp detail.
“Weaveworld,” which begins with the line “Nothing ever begins,” plunges into the middle of an ancient conflict between a race of fey folk known as Seerkind and mere mortals (whom they slyly refer to as the Cuckoos) which has suddenly been rekindled by a series of events. The unsuspecting human characters, Cal and Susanna, find themselves thrust into the turmoil for greatly different reasons and have to rely on one another to survive the stories initial salvos of danger and wonder.
All events center around the Fugue, an amazingly powerful hiding place created by the Seerkind that manifests itself in the form of an intricate carpet. Concealed within the Fugue are most of the Seerkind, their possessions and even portions of the world in which they live. The magical riot of color and power that holds this magical world is the burning object of desire that drives those who would possess, control or destroy the Seerkind and all their wonders.
As with many of Barker’s works, the antagonists are deliciously evil, morbid and terrifying. The immensely powerful Immacolata, her two repulsive sisters (undead murder victims of their sister’s siblicide) and her mortal cohort, the avaricious and power-hungry Shadwell populate the novel with horrors aplenty. While the evil runs rampant in an attempt to destroy the beauty of the Fugue, Barker has mostly kept the reins on his previously grisly depictions and graphic detail in order to portray a story where the protagonists narrowly escape tense moments and strive to overcome seemingly impossible odds.
This fine read, only the second novel by the author, is a wonderful first step into the fantasy genre that has come to be the staple of Barker’s works since early 1990s and can easily be identified as the foreshadowing of many of his later novels.
Clive Barker is the bestselling author of 19 books, including “Abarat,” “Imajica” and “Galilee.” He shows his art in Los Angeles and New York, and produces and directs for both large screen and small, including the Oscar-winning film “Gods and Monsters.”
– Michael Stroschein is co-owner and manager of Neighbors Bookstore.
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