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Books of Blood (Volume 1)


Clive Barker

Books of Blood (Volume 1)
average rating is 4 out of 5

Horror, Short Stories, Supernatural

R. Alex Jenkins

This volume consists of six short stories: a spectral introduction called Book of Blood, and five longer stories.

My particular favourite is Pig Blood Blues, a horror story set in a borstal full of bastard boys and their carers. It has a distinct Animal Farm by George Orwell element to it, with a revered deity in the guise of a fetid and sordid pig.

The Yattering And Jack is really good story also, played like a game of chess between the demonic Yattering spirit and Jack Polo, being a distinct retelling of The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde, but like all of Clive Barker's stories, is more grisly and sinister.

These are other people's stories told in a horrific way, but that's okay when they're as rich, fresh and seemingly unique as this, and I like them all. Clive Barker has a way of expressing his ideas in a vividly harrowing manner that compensates for his far out imagination.

The Midnight Meat Train is a memorable day-in-the-life account of a brutal serial killer who delivers carcasses via the subway; Sex, Death and Starshine is surprisingly charming for its quotes and references to Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare; and the final story, In the Hills, the Cities is downright bizarre, featuring a gay male couple, tourism in Yugoslavia and a man-made fight between two regional cities.

This is a really good collection and I recommend it. My only criticism is the constant retellings, but so what when they're as imaginative as this?

There are SIX volumes available in total, this being the first, so plenty more wondrous tales from the strange brain of Clive Barker.

Be aware of a misleading administration error. Pig Blood Blues, and Sex, Death and Starshine are listed as a single story: 'Pig Blood and Starshine'.

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