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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's no secret....
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...
Published on April 16 2009 by Jamieson Villeneuve

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars In the Middle
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...
Published on Nov. 11 2003 by Tyler Tanner


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's no secret...., April 16 2009
By 
Jamieson Villeneuve "Author at Large" (Ottawa Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Great And Secret Show (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. No one knows the truth, however, no matter how crazy the rumors.

Jaffe and Fletcher have impregnated four women in hopes of producing offspring to continue the battle they began so many years ago. Fletcher knows that he cannot allow Jaffe to gain access to the Art, to Quididdty; otherwise, it could mean the end of the world, and dreams, as we know it...

What Barker does here is create myth and he does so beautifully. It's a difficult thing to create an epic myth from the ground up, but Barker does so in "The Great and Secret Show" with such skill and mastery that you know he has a gift. The plot mentioned above doesn't even begin to describe the plot for this book. It is a big, wonderfully sprawling dive into wonderland.

What I love about books by Clive Barker is that they are usually character driven. This is also the case here. While there is a lot of focus on myth and legend here, Barker also focuses on the people filling his tale. It's a good thing he does - there is a cast of hundreds here and we get to know almost all of them through out "The Great and Secret Show". What's wonderful is that this is actually the first novel in a trilogy, The Books of Art.

I devoured this book. Quididdty now floats through my dreams and haunts my waking hours. This is an amazing book. It's a big one, but it's worth it. An amazing piece of literature, a great beginning to an epic fantasy, any way you look at it, this is an amazing read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unpredictable & Different, Jan. 27 2004
By 
BigRig (Trout Creek (Salisbury), PA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Great And Secret Show (Paperback)
This is the first Clive Barker book I have ever read & I can say it won't be the last. This is a excellent & different story with great character & plot development. This book is unpredictable and moves smoothly making it difficult to put down. This is a must read book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars In the Middle, Nov. 11 2003
By 
Tyler Tanner (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Great And Secret Show (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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5.0 out of 5 stars Wow., Oct. 22 2003
This review is from: Great And Secret Show (Paperback)
I consider myself a fairly slow reader, but I finished this book in about a week. It was not at all hard to read or understand. I could not put it down!! I almost called off work just to be able to finish the last chapter! It's a huge mix of everything possible (love, war - not your typical war either!, murder, sex, insanity, imagination, monsters, fears, dreams) and you never know what to expect! I really enjoyed this book. "Everville" is on my bookshelf waiting it's turn to be read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thinking Man's (or Woman's) Horror, May 2 2003
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This review is from: Great And Secret Show (Paperback)
GSS is a compelling mixture of stories that only a master like Clive Barker could pull together.
Among the many stories a lucky ready will find in this book are star-crossed lovers (ala Romeo&Juliet), clashing forces of magic vs. technology, believeable characters with everyday concerns overcome by extraordinary events, "sins of the fathers", self-immolation, visits from ethereal porn stars and just to finish things off in style, a minor apocalypse that destroys the sunny California suburb of Palomo Grove. (By the way, this brief synopsis doesn't begin to cover a fraction of the characters and events in this book!)
GSS is a challenging, thought-provoking book that will definitely appeal to people who love horror stories with substance.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Good and secret Show, March 31 2003
By 
Ja'Maul Redmond (Charlotte, N.C.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Great And Secret Show (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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5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable read of a fantastic landscape of the mind, March 19 2003
This review is from: Great And Secret Show (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. The ideas behind the Quiddity and the Art that allows access to it may not satisfy fans of more science-fiction novels but, on the other hand, the elements of an odd cult, an ancient enemy and the means by which tears in the fabric of reality can bring those things together are not really in the true horror genre either. So the book sort of straddles a few elements from various literary genres and weaves what I think is a very compelling story.
If you decide to give this book a try, understand that you are getting into what is (at the time of writing this review) a two-book series. (The second book is "Everville" and a third book is ostensibly planned, although there is some debate on that, most notably from the author.) However, do not let that daunt you. The current book actually can stand on its own quite well if you decide to venture no further into Clive Barker's portrait of humanity and what might lie at right angles to reality and just beyond the veil of our dreams.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The past, the future, and the dreaming moment between, Feb. 10 2003
By 
Geert Daelemans (Leuven Belgium) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Great And Secret Show (Paperback)
When Randolph Jaffe applies for a job in the "Dead Letter Office" in Omaha, Nebraska he has no clue of what kind of world he is about to enter. Most of the lost letters that are brought to his office are of no importance - unless they contain money, of course. But once in a while the content of a letter suggest more than a common human will ever be able to understand. They talk about crossroads between worlds - thin spots in the fabric of reality. It doesn't take long before Randolph is totally hooked. But when he is about to be fired, a murder changes his plans completely: he now must find a crossroads - even if this means losing his life.
There is only one word strong enough to describe this book: masterpiece. Clive Barker is admired for his fantastic stories, interwoven with ... suspense, darkness and pure horror. This book is certainly no exception. But what makes this one so special is its vastness. Even when you only read the first pages, you know for sure that this is story huge - nothing less than epic; you realise immediately that you are on the verge of a mind-blowing experience.
This book is the first part of three. The second book - or The Second Book of The Art - is already available: Everville. As with The Great and Secret Show, it is an absolute treasure. Sadly enough, the third volume is not planned for the near future. Clive has explained in an interview that the third part is a real struggle: it has a tendency of growing bigger that part one and two together. This could only mean more joy, of course! So, please Clive, don't let us wait any longer!
This book should be on the shelf of every fantasy and horror lover.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Not A Fan, Nov. 10 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Great And Secret Show (Paperback)
This was the first Clive Barker book I've read. I was not impressed by anything - characters, plot, or writing style. It was laborious to read and would never be a reading recommendation I would make. The story is not especially suspenseful or compelling and there was no real empathy established with the characters though horrific things happen to them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars, of course, but..., Oct. 28 2002
By 
A. Ball "ummm, amanda" (Macon, GA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Great And Secret Show (Paperback)
Considering I love Barkers style, imagination, ability... (hmmm, obsessed fan I am not, I promise) and The Great and Secret Show definately showcased his talents (and fairly early in his career...)
However, there is a good bit of gratuitous sex. I first read this book when I was 11... and I wouldn't let my 11-year old read it (if I had an 11-yr old!).
If you are looking for something different, here's where you should start looking. This book is strange, imaginative, different...
Just read it!!
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Great And Secret Show
Great And Secret Show by Clive Barker (Paperback - Oct. 21 1999)
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