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THE GREAT AND SECRET SHOW Paperback – 1990


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Harper & Row (1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000617695X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006176954
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.4 x 4.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 921 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,180,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Homer opened the door. Read the first page
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jamieson Villeneuve on April 16 2009
Format: Paperback
the dead letter room in the middle of Omaha, Randolph Jaffe has stumbled upon a secret. At first, the secret isn't clear, just vague references to something called the Art. The Art begins to consume Jaffe, taking over his life. Its secrets continue to elude Jaffe until he cracks part of the code.

The Art are laws governing an alternate reality called Quididdty. Quididdty is the dream see, the dreamscape, the magic that runs through all our fantasies. Jaffe can think of nothing else except the Art and becoming a master of it. Quididdty is his for the taking.

Taking a scientist named Fletcher under his wing to further his growing evil, Jaffe hopes to get one step closer to mastering the Art. Fletcher creates a transforming drug they call Nuncio, which uses the principals of the Art. What they don't realize is that it will become their undoing.

Fletcher realizes that Jaffe is evil and attempts to stop his plans by destroying the Nuncio. He knows that the drug is capable of transforming anyone into what ever they are most on the inside. Good becomes great. Evil becomes more so. Except, the Nuncio has other plans. It transforms Fletcher and then Jaffe into Demigods. Not content to let the other live, (after all, good must always triumph over evil) Fletcher and Jaffe engage in a battle that brings them to Palamo Grove, a small town and an ideal place to hide and rest in the earth while regaining the energy to continue fighting.

Years pass. Then something unthinkable happens. Four girls, dubbed The League of Virgins, become pregnant after swimming in a river that appeared on the edge of town. When the girls start talking of being raped in the river, gossip in the small town grows to an all time high.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tyler Tanner on Nov. 11 2003
Format: Paperback
This is the third book I've read by Barker. The last one, Damanation game I really did not care for, But the Thief of Always I loved. This falls somewhwere in the middle. The imagery and fable like quality of storytelling work well here. Just like almost every other Barker book, it has a healthy dose of sexuality mixed in with gore. Barker fans know what I'm talking about. First timers may find it a bit much.
Creating your own mythology is hard to pull off. Barker manages better than most who have attempted it. He slowly explains his concepts letting the reader digest what he is trying to get across one small portion at a time.
However, the characterization is hit and miss. Jaffe, the antagonist is fully developed and Barker really makes the ambiguity of the character tangible and you feel for him. But you don't realize the "true" protagonist until a good third into the book because they do not show up until then. When it does happen, the revelation seems whimsical and I found it difficult to accept. Especially when he does such a great job with Jaffe.
There is a Shakespearian element to this book that works very well and should have been the dominating element to this story. I think readers would have been satisfied with that. The love triangle and the events that led up to it are fully realized. He had enough to propel his grand scheme with just that. But the additional characters, such as the reporter and his friend were gratuitous. Maybe they play a bigger part in the sequel called "Everville."
I can see why people love this book and I can see why people hate it. Some great stuff but it's unbalanced.
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Format: Paperback
This is the fourth book I've read by barker and I think I've figured out why I haven't turned into a fan. But before I get into that, let me say that "The Show" is so far the best clive barker Book I've read (out of Imajica,Damnation game,Inhuman Condition). It is NOT the best book ever as some people on the site claim but it is good. I admit ,the simple parts of the story keeps you interested and makes you beg for more . (Good Vs.evil) (dreams vs. fears), but clive complicates things to the ninth degree with useless Sci-fi, fantasy imagery. This story like Imajica , is full of complex but underdeveloped themes. That's when I figured out why I'm not a fan.
I truly feel that great forms of art are born from simple, basic and minimal ideas that have room to grow and develop. I personally get more involved with characters and plots that develop through-out the book. The books I've read so far by Barker have themes that seemed to be complete and complex before you start reading. They don't develop, they just simply exist and you are force to accept them. Both Imajica and The Show are identical is this way. I would love for barker to take a simple premise like "envy" and develop it into a complete and concise novel. But from past experience I now know that barker would rather take "Envy" and match it up with the 4 dimensions, the end of the world and a land called Rezirdan that you can reach through sex. Lol.
With that said. I will still probably read everville but maybe not until next year sometime. I just need some simple depth out of my novels for a change.
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Format: Paperback
This is definitely an interesting book but, then again, that probably depends on what interests you. For Clive Barker fans, the story largely fits into the thematic structures he often puts to writing (notably in works like "Weaveworld" and "Imajica"). For those new to Clive Barker, his are books that you have to give a chance. Go along for the ride and realize that if you are confused by what is happening, so often are the main characters. In fact, that is often the point. Everything is not wrapped up into a nice little bundle, certainly not right away. You are given hints. You are given threads of the story along with the characters and, along with them, you will unravel those threads to get at the core elements.
The overall story uses fantastical elements (the dream-sea, called Quiddity; loops in time; a mysterious cult that worships something called the Art) but in doing so what the story is really highlighting is the secret lives that people lead and how ephemeral those lives can be, particularly when those lives are based on the superficial and fleeting pleasures (whether that be fame, money, or sex). The events in the book speak to people's deepest fears and their secret desires and how those fuel an odd melange of dreams and nightmares and how those dreams and those nightmares can define who we are and who we become. The ideas in this book flow pretty fast and furious and yet all are logically connected in my opinion. While the concepts are fantastical, the mundane setting they are placed in serves as a wonderful contrast to the events that eventually take place.
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