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Clive Barker's Books of Blood 1-3 Paperback – Oct 1 1998

4.4 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (Oct. 1 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425165582
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425165584
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #76,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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"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

From Library Journal

Barker launched his best-selling career in 1984 with the Books of Blood trilogy, which are published together here as a single volume. In addition to the numerous short stories contained in the Books, this edition also sports a new introduction by the author. Bloody good fun.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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By A Customer on July 5 2004
Format: Paperback
The stories in this book are some of the most bizare and unflinching stories i've ever read that don't ever tone it down. It has a very dark feel to it the whole way through. One thing i really liked about the book was that a lot of these stories are like nightmares. I mean, some of the stories don't even make that much sense, they just get dark and disturbingly nightmarish. The reason i gave it four stars is because there is a reoccuring ending that becomes frequent with more than one of the stories to the point where some of them were becoming predictable. But you can't do a review of a short-story book without a discription of each:
The Book of Blood: Just a little intro to the rest of the book. A detective in a haunted house gets all of the stories of the book carved into his flesh by spirits in a haunted house.
The Midnight Meat Train: A guy runs into a sereal killer on a subway station in London, and is led into a subteranean world where he discovers grusome secrets. This story has a reoccuring ending.
The Yattering and Jack: Didn't like this one. It's about a little Goblin bugging a family on Christmas. It's supposed to be funny.
Pig Blood Blues: THis is the first one i actually read. I liked this one a lot, because it reminded me of a nightmare I myself have had before, and i'm sure it's inspired by a nightmare of Barkers. It's about a kid who is admitted into a Juvenile dention facility, and hears rumors about a kid who committed suicide. Turns out, the kid is possessing a big sow outside. Very creepy.
Sex, Death, and Starshine: Didn't like this one. It's about a soap opera cast and their run in with the supernatural. The ending is just like Midnight Meat Train.
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Format: Paperback
These stories serve as an introduction to Clive Barker. These were his first published works. Prior to this, he was writing stage plays. As a first effort of a writer, they are great. They evoke images, such as "In the Hills, the Cities", that stay with you for days. In the 80's, when these books were written, they were breaking new ground. Mr. Barker is able to conjure up horrific images without covering you in blood, for the most part.
I think that these stories will whet your appetite for the more mature works of Mr. Barker, such as The Great and Secret Show, and Everville.
As with many writers, some of the movie adaptations of these stories leave much to be desired. The best actually had Clive Barker involved, such as the original Hellraiser (the Hellbound Heart), Nightbreed (based on Cabal).
New readers, that have become jaded on the raw, in your face horror of the current writers, may miss out on some of the more subtle nuances in this freshman outing by Mr. Barker. He attempts, and mostly succeeds, in taking an everyday situation with ordinary people and sending out into the world of the horrific. Horror does not equal blood an gore but that feeling of dreading to turn the page to find out what happens next. Barker succeeds in this with these short stories.
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Format: Paperback
Clive Barker did not want his Books of Blood broken up into individual volumes when they were published, yet that is what happened. Now, the first three volumes are available in one book, serving as the perfect introduction to Barker's unique style of horror. There are some really groundbreaking stories included here, alongside of a dud or two from Volume Two, but each and every story exhibits the genius and originality of its author's dark vision.
The initial offering, The Book of Blood, stands out as a unique ghost story, but it also serves as a provocative abstract for everything Barker sought to accomplish with these stories. After this enticing introductory tale, we head below the streets of New York to sneak a ride on The Midnight Meat Train. This story is vintage Clive Barker, full of blood and gore. Barker isn't trying to drown the reader in blood as a means to hide any lack of skill on his part, though, because the skill is undeniably there for all to see. In The Yattering and Jack, a dark comedy farce, a poor demon does everything he can think of to make the unshakeable Jack miserable, driving himself almost mad in the process. I think of The Yattering and Jack as an amusing sort of Barker bedtime story. Pig Blood Blues forces the casual reader to once again don hip hugger boots for a trek into gore and depravity. At a certain school for wayward boys, the other white meat is not pork. Sex, Death and Starshine is a good story, touching upon the needs of the dead to be entertained every once in a while, but it lacks a certain oomph.
Dread is a somewhat sadistic tale of one man's obsession with death.
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Format: Paperback
THE BOOKS OF BLOOD: VOLUMES ONE TO THREE is a collection of short horror stories that introduced the world to one of the most creative writers of his generation. Although Clive Barker would go on to write epic works of dark fantasy, he is best known for these sixteen grisly tales of terror.
"The Book of Blood" is the first story that kicks off THE BOOKS OF BLOOD: VOLUME ONE and basically sets up the premise for all the stories that will follow... it's an intriguing haunted house premise that gives new meaning to the title of this anthology. The first official story is "The Midnight Meat Train," which is a wonderful blood-splattered tale that initially starts off with a serial killer in the New York City subway system and eventually moves into more disturbing grounds. That excessively gory tale leads into "The Yattering and Jack," which is just about one of the most hilarious short stories that I've ever read in this genre. "Pig Blood Blues" is a creepy little story that's often reminiscent of THE LORD OF THE FLIES while "Sex, Death and Starshine" is a witty take on the cutthroat world of the theater. THE BOOKS OF BLOOD: VOLUME ONE ends with a bizarre story called "In the Hills, and Cities" concerning two isolated villages in the European countryside.
THE BOOKS OF BLOOD: VOLUME TWO starts off with a darkly psychological story called "Dread," which spends most of the time being an involving study of human fear, but soon descends into a rather unsettling climax. "Hell's Event" is a funny short story that involves the supernatural events that occur during a charity race. "Jaqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament" is a dreamlike story concerning a young woman with extraordinary powers...
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