Cabal – Clive Barker

I’ve long steered clear o Barker’s writings, ever since reading that he grossed Stephen King out.  Any author who can do that, I reasoned, is one that I never should endeavor to read.  I’ve long since learned that Stephen King might not be the tough guy I thought he was though (if J.K. Rowling’s Inferi scare him!) , nonetheless I still approached Cabal with a weary eye.  

 

The copy of Cabal that I own is an anthology, the largest part of the book going to the story of Cabal and then the remainder to four other short, but no less interesting, stories.  

 

The first thing that I found intriguing in Boone’s tale was the fact that it took place in my home country.  What’s not to like about a story that does that?  But it tells the tale of Aaron Boone, a social outcast who seems to be suffering from a psychological disorder.  Through some clever manipulation by his therapist, Boone comes to learn of Midian, a place where outcasts go.  He eventually journeys there, and thus begins the decline of the civilization of Nightbreed.

 

I was made aware of this story by a colleague and work and it intrigued me enough to pick up the book – obviously.  Though there were parts that I could have done without, I must admit the very fact that Lori goes after Boone was one of the most interesting parts.  “I’ll never leave you.”  It is a very romantic/gothic story, truly in the style of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  Perhaps there is some twisted sense of Romeo and Juliet in it too.  Both characters die in the end, though not for the same reasons that the star-crossed lovers do.

 

More interesting to me than Cabal were the other short stories: The Life of Death, How Spoilers Bleed, The Last Illusionist and Twilight at the Towers.  The first is about a woman pursued by death, but not the mystical death that we usually think of.  The second is really a scathing look at those usurpers of land.  Oh how I wish some of that were true . . .  The third story I mentioned was made into the movie The Lord of Illusions and was an awesome story.  It is a version of the ‘selling your soul to the devil and then living to regret it’ stories.  I remember it from the movie but the story was better.  The final story was probably my least favorite.  Who needs to read about shape-shifting spies.

 

All-in-all I enjoyed these stories but I don’t know if I have a strong enough stomach to read another Clive Barker book. 

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