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Books of Blood, Vols. 1-3 Paperback – October 1, 1998
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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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Top Customer Reviews
Basically books of blood is a collection of 25-30 page short stories. Each short story is extremely horrific, graphic, and deliciously creepy.
My favorite was story "Dread." Not only did it keep me up at night, but I remember driving to work the day after reading it and letting the horror pass through my mind over and over again. The following day, "Dread" still had its hold on me. I couldn't shake the horror, I couldn't shake terror and I couldn't wait another hour before reading another story.
To make a long story a short story....READ THIS BOOK!
All of these long-to-novella-length stories are quality. Of course, some work better than others. None are weak. The ones that really pierced deepest: "Pig Blood Blues" - my favorite; just scary and resonant and so well-written and executed. "In the Hills, the Cities" - this story, a not exactly subtle allegory about collectivism and The State, got to me in such a way that I had to put it down as I read into the night, needing the sober light of day to get me through. Truly creeped me out. This is the most lush and purple of all of these, but so gorgeously wrought, so eloquent, and so haunting. I can't stop thinking about the images and the way this story made me feel, makes me feel. "Sex, Death and Starshine" - just made me smile. Barker has a background in theater and this may be a paean to those times. "Rawhead Rex" - fantastic, ballsy yet straight-up gothic monster story. Set piece after enthralling set piece. A clinic of a story. "Dread" - for the ending...jeez. Scar-y. "Scape-goats" - this one is resonating with me, subtle and horrible and poetic and even elegiac. And I really like the ender "Human Remains" - more a violent mystery ending on a haunting, melancholy, heavy, existential note.
The aspect of Books of Blood that makes me gush? The writing. The eloquence. The verve. His rendering of sentences, the deft touch, the lyrical flourishes that somehow manage to remain self-possessed, his wink of insight, his understanding of the human condition. The humanness of these stories. You can tell: he had fun writing these.
Barker's face, with this book alone, belongs carved into the mountain with Poe, Lovecraft, King. It's that good, he's that good.