cover image The Painter, the Creature, and the Father of Lies

The Painter, the Creature, and the Father of Lies

Clive Barker, edited by Phil and Sarah Stokes. Earthling (, $35 (408p) ISBN 978-0-9795054-4-7

This landmark retrospective comprises twenty-five years of essays and incantations from a modern mastermind of the horror genre. A chance viewing of Jean Cocteau's The Testament of Orpheus as a child planted a seed in Clive Barker that grew into a lifelong obsession with escapism, "altered states," and a fetish for all things forbidden. Mysterious by nature, Barker's eloquence transcends absurdity thanks to the editorial expertise of Phil and Sarah Stokes who divided the book thematically into two sections "Complementary" and "Complimentary"%E2%80%94rather than chronologically. Barker's brain is sensationally splattered throughout the first half in articulate meditations and critical essays on censorship and taboo. Here the editors include Barker's introductions, forewords, and afterwards%E2%80%94sublime compositions in their own right, each revealing another piece of his puzzling mind. The latter half of the book cites influential figures in his life, from fellow authors Ray Bradbury and Neil Gaiman, to an unflagging fervor for such luminaries as Francisco Goya and William Blake. An early endorsement from Stephen King and the cult success of Hellraiser thrust Clive Barker into the mainstream; this volume explicates his notorious motives for eschewing the "commercial route," refusing to compromise artistic integrity and endeavoring to "invent anarchic alternatives to the wretched banalities of life." Illustrations. (July)