“Weaveworld” by Clive Barker

“That which is imagined can never be lost.”  ~Clive Barker, “Weaveworld”

When I first read the intro to this book, my first thought was that the Clive Barker was an incredibly pretentious writer.  After finishing the book, I’ve decided that he deserves to be as pretentious as he wishes, because it was such an intriguing read.

A bit of background… I’m relatively new to horror, but decided to read this for the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Challenge hosted by Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings.  This book isn’t pure horror, but rather horror mixed with fantasy.  It reminded me of a sort of dark and more sexualized Narnia, if you will.

“Weaveworld” is set in modern England.  Our two heroes, Cal and Suzanna, each inadvertently are drawn into the magical world known as The Fugue, which is currently lying dormant in a rug to protect it from non-magical humans, known in the book as Cuckoos.

I’m a big fan of the way that Barker constructed his villains.  Shadwell is a sleazy salesman who wants to sell the carpet containing The Fugue, but has yet to actually acquire it.  Immacolata is a seductive Incantrix, and believes that her powers stem from her own virginity.  She has her own gripes with The Fugue and wants to destroy it entirely.  Hobart, a sadistic and deranged policeman, finds himself hating the Fugue because it will not conform to his concept of Law.  Each villain is an incredibly complex character, making him/her a formidable rival.

Cal and Suzanna find themselves in the position of being the only ones who can preserve the Fugue.  Of course, my little summary doesn’t do the book justice and doesn’t even hint at the amount of shit that goes down as the book progresses.  This book gave me nightmares.  It was glorious.

Barker is a brilliant.  The story was complex and thought out.  This man has an incredible imagination, and an impressive vocabulary to accompany it.  While I expected the book to be idle escapism, it ended up containing a lot of metaphysical commentary on memory and existence.

I was a huge fan of Immacolata’s character.  She’s incredibly creepy and deliciously evil, but does have her redeeming moments as well.  I imagine her as being played by Helena Bonham Carter.

As an interesting aside, while looking up the book I discovered that there was a comic book adaptation published in the early 1990s that I’m somewhat curious about.  I may have to try to locate this.

Overall, I’d highly recommend “Weaveworld” to anyone looking for good dark fantasy.  Barker’s an incredible writer, and I wish I had discovered him sooner!

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Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Horror/Gothic | Tags: , , , , | 14 Comments

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14 thoughts on ““Weaveworld” by Clive Barker

  1. Josh

    I first read Weaveworld when I was a teen, after having read Stephen King, Robert McCammon, Dean Koontz, H.P. Lovecraft and other minor writers. Barker electrified me, wrote horror/fantasy fiction like no other than Lovecraft. So I read pretty much everything else he wrote.

    His other books weren’t as satisfying as Weaveworld, save the Books of Blood a collection of short stories that have had the same effect to me (the intro to book one, describing why it is titled BoB is still one of my favorite short stories ever).

    When sharing to people why I am so passionate about Barker I always mention the quote from Stephen King, “I think Clive Barker is so good that I am literally tongue-tied. He makes the rest of us look like we’ve been asleep for the past ten years.”

  2. In my humble opinion Weaveworld is Barker’s best novel, an absolutely classic piece of dark fantasy and imaginative fiction. Glad you got to read it!

  3. I love the sound of this book. I will have to look into it.

  4. I have been meaning to try Clive Barker for a while now, but still haven’t managed it. I am glad you enjoyed this one and hopefully I will read something by him soon!

    • Thank you! I hadn’t expected to enjoy it so much; it was one of those “I’m going to buy a random author that I’ve never heard of because Borders is going out of business” books. 😀

  5. This sounds really interesting. I’d never heard of Clive Barker until today, when I JUST picked up a copy of Mister B. Gone at the library today. How funny to see his name twice in one day. 🙂 Great review!

  6. This sounds great! I love Barker. If you haven’t already, you should check out the Thief of Always. Kind of a young adult horror. It has stayed with me since I read it back when I was 10.

  7. I’ve been meaning to read Barker someday, and this sounds like a good starting point. Well-developed villains are a rarity.

    • I think you’ll enjoy it. It’s interesting too because they are developed in such a way that they remain evil, and you still can’t empathize with them, but they’re not your traditional Emperor Palpatine type villain who is there just so the heroes have someone to oppose.

  8. This does sound like the kind of book right up my alley; seems to be some threads of Neil Gaimen in there, too. I’ve yet to really start a Clive Barker book, but I’ve been intrigued by him for years, so perhaps this might be good starting point. Thanks for the great review!

    • The “Fragile Things” readalong is the only Neil Gaiman I’ve read thus far, but I can see some definite similarities. Next time I order new books, I’m putting more Barker on my list.

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