Fiction Reviews


(1998) Clive Barker, HarperCollins, 17.99, hdbk, 582pp, ISBN 0-00-223560-9

First of a two-parter charting the relationships between the Barbarossa family, semi-divinities of some description (what is not apparent from the book), and the Geary family, a rich bunch somewhat like the Rockefellers etc. While some of Clive's prose is still heartbreakingly beautiful, this does not compensate for the self-indulgence of his non-existent plotlines: Mrs. Rachel Geary, recently inducted into the clan, falls for Galilee Barbarossa, who is estranged from his mother (a goddess), there's a lot of running around, a few deaths, then the book closes. What's the book about? You tell me; better still, tell Clive. Perhaps something more substantive will happen in part two, but I'm not holding my breath. Even if it does, it still wouldn't justify a near 600-page introduction. And, what with all the characters being so unsympathetic, it becomes a bit tiresome trying to believe in the divine acting just like "normal folk", and even more tedious trying to perceive in the irredeemable Geary's any element of the divine. I dare say Clive's stuff still sells well, but I'm glad I get my copies free...

Tony Chester

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