Clive Barker is a horror legend, simple as that. This is the man that brought us movies like Hellraiser and graphic novels like Tapping The Vein (the comic versions of the Books Of Blood). He also wrote the massively imaginative novel Weaveworld. I don’t know anyone that’s read Weaveworld and didn’t like it. Comment below if you can change that stat. This weekend I finally got around to reading Cabal. It was written back in 1988 and is one of those things I’ve always meant to read but never got around to. I got a copy in a second hand bookstore recently, the original version you can see on the left, and finally sat down to read it this weekend.
It’s a short novel, easily devoured in a weekend, and well worth the time and effort. Barker has a way with descriptive prose that really seeks out the cracks in the human facade and lays bear the nerve endings. Cabal is a book heavy with subtext, exploring the nature of humanity and our relationships with each other. It also explores our relationship with death and fear. It’s funny how the tagline reads, “At last, the night has a hero”, because really, the “hero” in this book is the cause of all the mayhem and the ultimate downfall of the Nightbreed. But he’s also the one that will rebirth them into a new era, so I guess the book is also looking at what makes a hero.
I’m really glad I finally got around to reading this book and I would recommend all horror and dark fantasy fans to give it a read if you haven’t already. It’s clearly a precursor as well, for all of Barker’s Nightbreed ideas to grow from this story. I might have to seek out the other Clive Barker works that I’ve yet to read and catch up on those too.