"Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red." For those who only know Clive Barker through his long multigenre novels, this one-volume edition of the Books of Blood
is a welcome chance to acquire the 16 remarkable horror short stories with which he kicked off his career. For those who already know these tales, the poignant introduction is a window on the creator's mind. Reflecting back after 14 years, Barker writes:
I look at these pieces and I don't think the man who wrote them is alive in me anymore.... We are all our own graveyards I believe; we squat amongst the tombs of the people we were. If we're healthy, every day is a celebration, a Day of the Dead, in which we give thanks for the lives that we lived; and if we are neurotic we brood and mourn and wish that the past was still present.
Reading these stories over, I feel a little of both. Some of the simple energies that made these words flow through my pen--that made the phrases felicitous and the ideas sing--have gone. I lost their maker a long time ago.
These enthusiastic tales are not ashamed of visceral horror, of blood splashing freely across the page: "The Midnight Meat Train," a grisly subway tale that surprises you with one twist after another; "The Yattering and Jack," about a hilarious demon who possesses a Christmas turkey; "In the Hills, the Cities," an unusual example of an original horror premise; "Dread," a harrowing non-supernatural tale about being forced to realize your worst nightmare; "Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament," about a woman who kills men with her mind. Some of the tales are more successful than others, but all are distinguished by strikingly beautiful images of evil and destruction. No horror library is complete without them. --Fiona Webster
--This text refers to an alternate
From Publishers Weekly
Published last year in Britain as three paperback originals, these short narratives garnered impressive reviews. This edition, Barker's first hardcover appearance in America, gathers together 16 stories in one volume as the author originally intended and contains eerily effective illustrations by fantasy artists J. K. Potter and Harry O. Morris. The tales are of varying quality and will please mostly readers who like their horror bloody and graphic. An occasional reliance on hokey set-ups and deus ex machinas, and the frequent shifting of intention in mid-story are jarring qualities, however. Further, a pervasive misanthropy colors the narratives and makes them unpleasant in a way the author probably didn't intend. The best entry, "Human Remains," about a male hustler and his doppelganger, isthe only one in which the author actually seems to like his protagonist.Also good are the almost dreamlike"New Murders in the Rue Morgue," "Scape-goats," about an island that is an altar to the drowned, and "Son of Celluloid," which generates a full complement of chills. Ramsey Campbell has contributed a lavishly praiseful introduction. November 15
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.