Daragh Downes
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‘What price wonderland?’
Clive Barker and the spectre of realism
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Clive Barker first came to international prominence with Books of Blood, a collection of thirty stories of which only one might be said to adhere to basic protocols of bourgeois realism. In breaking out of what threatened to become a comfort zone marked 'Horror Fiction', Barker displayed rare courage and integrity. Even as he became a dark imaginer, a practitioner of something wider than horror, Barker shut himself off more and more wilfully from other possibilities. The rise of the Whitehead pharmaceutical empire and the Kennedy-by-any-other-name Geary commercial empire, with all the capitalist thuggery enforced along the way, could have given Barker a brace of gripping realist premises. On an uncomfortable number of occasions, Barker distracts from his dearth of ideas by fetching up tedious action sequences, facile bio-metamorphics, and 'edge'-lending violent and sexual content.

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Clive Barker

Dark imaginer


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