Thursday, April 15, 2010


The 4th book of the challenge and the 1st of the B's.

I first picked up Weaveworld over 20 years ago when there was a lot of buzz about it. I can remember being captivated by the story and the characters at the time. I sought out other Barker books and read those, but only Imajica really captured the magic of Weaveworld for me.

Rereading it now, I was almost instantly reminded of why I liked it so much the first time I read it. Clive Barker's prose. This man can create magic with words. Barker's writing is achingly beautiful. You get swept up in it and hardly notice time passing and the pages fly by.

Disaffected Liverpudlian Calhoun Mooney meets the feisty Suzanna Parish by accident, while the latter is searching her recently deceased grandmother's house. The 2 twentysomethings find they are both looking for an amazing carpet that was in Mimi Laschenski's derelict house. The carpet isn't just a gateway to another world, it is another world. The Seerkind wove themselves and their world into the carpet to protect it and themselves from a terror they call the Scourge. Unfortunately Cal and Suzanna aren't the only 2 who want the carpet. Also hunting for it are the sleazy salesman Shadwell, with his jacket of illusions, and his mistress Immacolata, one part of the unholy Trinity of sisters, the other 2 being the Magdalene and the Hag.

When Cal and Suzanna manage to release 5 of the Seerkind from the carpet, Immacolata sends her minions to kill them and this attracts the attention of brutal, paranoid detective; Hobart, someone who would have been more at home commanding a detachment of the SS than as a Liverpudlian policeman.

Cal and Suzanna enter the world of the carpet and it eventually unravels. Cal tries to go back to his old life, but can't erase the memories of the 'weaveworld'. Suzanna is forced to go on the run in order to avoid the obsessed Hobart.

Shadwell tries to take control of the 'weaveworld' and enlists Hobart to his cause, they are later joined by the Scourge, an insane spirit who believes itself be the angel Uriel, the Flame of God.

To protect themselves, our world and that of the Seerkind Cal and Suzanna are forced into a tense final battle with Shadwell and Uriel.

Barker's vision of faeryland, because that is what the Weaveworld is a representation of, is at once wondrous, confusing and sinister. His take on Uriel, one of the archangels, was also something unique. Barker's characters are well drawn and complex. To me Cal and Suzanna were very real, the way they spoke, the actions they took all made sense and were something I could see real people doing.

Weaveworld is a classic of the genre and it's not talked about that much now, it seems to have been equated with horror. There are elements of horror in it, and Barker is best known for his horror work, but Weaveworld is better classified as dark fantasy.

If you enjoyed Weaveworld, then another similar work by Barker, Imajica is also worth looking at. Tad Williams War of the Flowers has a similar theme, another disaffected human finding a way into a faery world that is very different from what he expected. Jay Gordon & Robert Scott's Eldarn Sequence is a trilogy in which 3 twentysomething Americans find their way to a fantasy world by means of a tapestry which provides a gateway between our world and that one.

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