Published: 2001 by Gallery Books
Genres: Fantasy, Horror/Gothic
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“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!