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The Essential Clive Barker: Selected Fiction

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  626 ratings  ·  12 reviews
"I wonder if the reverse is not also in some way true. That the artist is constantly working on anelaborate and fantasticated self-portrait, but at the end has drawn, unbeknownst, a picture of the world." -- Clive Barker, "Private Legends: An Introduction"

Clive Barker, award-winning and New York Times bestselling author, playwright, artist, producer, director, screenwriter
Hardcover, 608 pages
Published November 3rd 1999 by Harper (first published 1999)
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Uhg. I was so torn on this book...

I picked this up on sale because I'm a Clive Barker fan who hasn't really read enough of him in my life, in particular his novels (I'm all over his movies and Books Of Blood short stories though! And the Hellraiser comic book spin-offs I really dig too).

On the one hand, this is a great collection of Clive's various writings, giving you glimpses into a number of the fantastic worlds and characters he's created. Barker's a master of horror fiction and there's a l
Geert Daelemans
Aug 23, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
A complete rip-off

There are many things wrong with The Essential Clive Barker. For starters, the title is simply incorrect. This book does not give you an overview -or even a hint for that matter- of what Clive Barker is all about. At best it gives you a set of teasers that hopefully will entice you to read the full novels. But why not start by picking up a real novel and explore the craftsmanship of the author yourself. Indeed, a concise version of The Essential Clive Barker should read: close
Michael Whetzel
Apr 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Nice overview of Barker's work but it is mostly excerpts from his books. Would rather read the complete works themselves. Only for the hardcore fan. ...more
Ashlie McDiarmid
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
If you love Clive Barker, are familiar with his inventive stories, and would like to see how his words can be extrapolated to fit many important themes of life, I would highly recommend this book. If you have never read or heard of Clive Barker before, I would not start here.

I had never read or heard of Barker before, only vaguely familiar with works like HellRaiser and Candyman. To put it simply, his stories are incredible. The way he makes each world come alive is beautiful and visceral, raw
Mark Groenen
Apr 22, 2020 rated it did not like it
Imagine, if you will, a greatest hits album. There’s always a slight cynical edge to this concept, as often fans will buy what they already own. However, especially back in the pre-digital days, it does allow for a nice overview the best songs of a band you like and maybe some extra features. This book is somewhat like a greatest hits album. Various snippets of Barker’s books are collected for the reader. They’re loosely themed and have an introduction by Barker. The first introductions were alr ...more
Mar 09, 2018 rated it liked it
If you have never read anything by Clive Barker and you want to get a feel for his writing, this is an excellent book. However if you want to sink your teeth into a good book, I'd recommend buying one of his novels, or the Books of Blood. ...more
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Clive Barker made a name for himself in the horror genre. But this book shows his strength in the fantastical: science fiction, fantasy, terror, mythological, even theater, and of course horror. The book is set up very creatively-- instead of arranging by date of publication, excerpts from his various works are arranged by theme: Memory, Body, Terror, Doorways, etc. Definitely makes me want to explore more of his works!
C Jon Tice
Apr 02, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didn-t-like
It was a good book for reading passages from his many novels, but without having read all the novels I didn't really follow on some of the themes. I didn't dislike the book but you really have to like his work and read his books to follow along with the themes. ...more
Jan 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dark-fantasy, horror
Good for the Barker enthusiast, great for examining common themes and tropes... not so great for actual read-throughs ;>
Dec 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
this was a good christmas gift , i still read it. it's so fun , even the pro pieces. ...more
Midnight Blue
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A book full of Clive Barker and more Clive Barker...can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon. ...more
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Clive Barker was born in Liverpool, England, the son of Joan Rubie (née Revill), a painter and school welfare officer, and Leonard Barker, a personnel director for an industrial relations firm. Educated at Dovedale Primary School and Quarry Bank High School, he studied English and Philosophy at Liverpool University and his picture now hangs in the entrance hallway to the Philosophy Department. It ...more

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