Imagica – Clive Barker
I remember bringing this home from my local library when I was about twelve years old. My mum took one look at the blurb below, and refused to let me read it:
“A book of revelations. A seamless tapestry of erotic passion, thwarted ambition and mythic horror. Clive Barker takes us on a voyage to worlds beyond our knowledge, but within our grasp.”
I imagine it was the erotic passion she objected to. Mythic horror was probably fine.
I promptly forgot about the book for the next fifteen years – not even reading Weaveworld, Barker’s other fantasy masterpiece, reminded me that Imajica was most definitely Something. I. Should. Read. But happily it cropped up in some article or other I was reading the other week, and to Amazon I went to grab a copy for my Kindle.
And damn if it isn’t a good book. Barker’s known for his horror, of course – Candyman, et al – but in his fantasy he creates utterly breathtaking worlds, imbued with a constant sensation of the unreal. As if any and all of the characters, and the reader along with them, can never be quite sure if they’re living in a dream.
The three protagonists in the book, John “Furie” Zacharias (known as Gentle), Judith Odell, and the androgynous shape-shifting assassin Pie ‘oh’ Pah, are each a mystery, and the story follows them unlocking their own personal histories, and that of all of humanity, while being thrown into a conflict they barely understand that will decide the fate of the world. Or worlds.
Powerful stuff. Classic fantasy. There’s some pretty erotic passion in there, too.
(Oh, and an androgynous shape-shifting assassin. You can’t really go wrong.)