Sunday, October 3, 2021

“Books of Blood Volume One” by Clive Barker

  When I posted earlier this weekend about my All Hallow’s Eve Reading List, I felt like I’d have no chance of finishing it all by October 31. Well, I still have my doubts, but I am now one closer to that lofty goal. 

  Clive Barker has quickly become one of my favorite writers. He has an ability all his own to create some of the most beautiful writing out there, but does so while including absolutely horrific, deeply disturbing and graphic horror.  The short stories in this collection are gory, visceral, disturbing and beautifully written. Barker is a master at grabbing you attention and holding you with brilliant first lines and openings. Breaking them down… 

“The Book of Blood”

This story is more of a framing device for the stories that come after, although it is one of the best in the book. Something only Barker could write, of sprits begging to be heard.

“The dead have highways. They run, unerring lines of ghost-trains, of dream-carriages, across the wasteland behind our lives, bearing an endless traffic of departed souls. Their thrum and throb can be heard in the broken places of the world, through cracks made by acts of cruelty, violence and depravity. Their freight, the wandering dead, can be glimpsed when the heart is close to bursting, and sights that should be hidden come plainly into view.”

“The Midnight Meat Train”

This serial killer tale is a super original take on the genre, coupled with absolutely disgusting and horrific scenes that amount to interesting social commentary. 

“The Yattering and Jack”

A demon is sent to collect a soul, and runs in to trouble. This was one of my favorites of the group. 

“Pig Blood Blues”

A new teacher at a boarding school uncovers secrets, and a pig. A fascinating read, not my favorite of the group. 

“Sex, Death and Starshine”

 This was a weird one, even by Clive Barker’s standards. Engrossingly written, and I loved sections of this, though I wasn’t always sure what it was amounting to. 

“In the Hills, The Cities” 

 A gay couple on the rocks traveling in Europe, encountering local customs. Absolutely bizarre, grotesque and very well done. 

 All in all a great collection, and I will quickly read the rest of the volumes in this series.

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