Synopses & Reviews
Clive Barker: a modern myth-maker, explorer of our darkest instincts and ultimate fears, the writer who -- more than any other contemporary figure -- has shaped our nightmares through diverse media. Novelist, playwright, scriptwriter, artist and director, he is a master at twisting the mundane to make it fantastic, frightening and ultimately meaningful.
Douglas E. Winter's detailed and highly literate biography, made possible by unprecedented access to Barker and his closest friends and family, offers readers a privileged insight into Barker's own story: his Liverpool childhood and adolescence; his forays into the world of theatre, mime and direction; his meteoric rise to fame as the author of the Books of Blood and Weaveworld, and the director of Hellraiser; his move to Hollywood to pursue a film career and his growth as an artist in many different media, which has taken him from theatre -- the first form of human expression -- into the digital age.
Interwoven with this revealing and personal journey into Barker's life is a grand tour through all of his fiction and film, from his earliest unpublished work -- including the short story "The Wood on the Hill," which is published here for the first time -- up to his most recent novel, Coldheart Canyon and beyond, giving a tantalising glimpse of things to come.
Clive Barker: The Dark Fantastic unlocks the beating heart of a polymath, a creator, a true artist, and reveals at last a man with one of the twentieth century's most phenomenal imaginations, and the vision to lead us on many strange and fabulous journeys in the years ahead.
"Smoothly done. Fans should love it and why not?" Kirkus Reviews
"Most chapters here concentrate on pairs or groups of plays, of stories, or of a story or novel and its film adaptation, or on single books of particular importance in the Barker canon. A 90-page, multimedia listing of items by and about Barker concludes this fan's dream of a book." Ray Olson, Booklist
"Like [Barker's] restlessly creative career, this comprehensive critical biography is ambitious if a bit unwieldy....Winter's explication of a coherent vision that unifies Barker's work and elevates it above much in the genres to which it is pigeonholed is persuasive and corroborated by an abundance of Barker's own articulate observations." Publishers Weekly
"[Barker's] fans will rejoice in the wealth of biographical and critical material to be found here, but others may find the book overlong and the author's tone overly effusive. Still, this is easily the most comprehensive study available of Barker..." Library Journal
"Douglas E. Winter gives us an affecting portrait of a remarkably self-aware young artist-in-the-making. Through his biographer's close reading, exhaustive research, and imaginative insight, Clive Barker emerges from The Dark Fantastic as an extravagantly gifted and courageous man and writer." Peter Straub, author of Ghost Story and co-author of Black House
"To call Clive Barker a 'horror novelist' would be like calling the Beatles a 'garage band.' Always creating and always pushing into the farthest reaches of the human mind, he is an artist in every sense of the word. He is the great imaginer of our time. He knows not only our greatest fears, but also what delights us, what turns us on, and what is truly holy in the world. Haunting, bizarre, beautiful. These are the words we can use to describe Clive Barker only until we invent new, more fitting adjectives." Quentin Tarantino, writer/director of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction
About the Author
Douglas E. Winter has been hailed as "the conscience of horror and dark fantasy." His books include the critically acclaimed novel Run; the anthologies Prime Evil and Revelations; and the authorized biography Stephen King: The Heart of Darkness. An attorney with the internationally based law firm Bryan Cave LLP, Mr. Winter is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. He lives near Washington, D.C.