Weaveworld by Clive Barker
Weaveworld is an epic adventure of the imagination. It begins with a carpet in which a world of rapture and enchantment is hiding; a world which comes to life, alerting the dark forces and beginning a desperate battle to preserve the last vestiges of magic which Humankind still has access to.
It is a book of visions and horrors, a story of quest, titanic struggles, of love and of hope. It is a triumph of imagination and storytelling, an adventure, a nightmare, a promise…
First published in 1987, this dark fantasy trilogy is a cataclysmic struggle between the Fugue, the world of magical creatures called Seerkind, and those seeking to destroy it. After the Scourge destroyed many Seerkind, it was decided that in order to save some of them and their world, it had to be woven into a carpet and protected until a safe place could be found to unravel it. Eighty years pass however and the last guardian, an old woman, finds herself at death’s door and tries to pass the burden on to her granddaughter Suzanna. However, Immaculata, an incredibly powerful Seerkind who was banished from the Fugue and made to live amongst the human population, is determined to destroy it in revenge. This is just the start of an incredible journey that has creation and destruction at its core.
In the introduction to the anniversary edition of Weaveworld, which brings together the three books, Barker says that it is a ‘meditation on memory’ and how the ‘knowledge of Eden slips from us’. Tales of Paradise Lost are central to our culture he says – yearning for a past place of perfection, but I think there’s a forward-looking yearning as well within the story. Desire plays a driving force – the Seerkind desire to be awake once again and released from the carpet; Cal, a young man who gets caught up in helping Suzanna, is initially enraptured by a brief glimpse of what he calls ‘Wonderland’ but then struggles to keep hold of what he’s seen; and the eternal salesman Shadwell, given a magic coat by Immaculata which gives people what they most desire but takes their free will, spirals between covetousness and hatred for what he cannot have. Weaveworld raises interesting questions about the accuracy of memory and the eternal search for the one perfect thing that will make us happy. If somebody offered you your heart’s greatest desire, what would you do to get it?
This is a true epic of a story – a whirlwind of base instincts and heights of imagination that brings together fantasy and horror, whilst grounding the fantastical in a recognisable, mundane, suburban England. What struck me most about Weaveworld was the sheer scale. It starts by saying that ‘nothing ever begins’, and what we get is just a small glimpse of an ages-old story. At over 700 pages and with a meandering structure that several times builds up to a serious threat and then lapses back into a ‘waiting’ period where Cal and Suzanne go back to their lives in London and Liverpool, it can sometimes lose the rhythm, but then another stunning set piece is unveiled and it sucks you back in again.
It’s a very impressive piece of imagination and although I might not have found it as profound as other people have – in the introduction Baker says people have told him that Weaveworld has helped them through dark times – it will stick with me. Apparently a TV series was on the cards several years ago but seems to have fallen by the wayside, which is a shame as that would have been quite something to see! (hyperlink to more info is http://www.clivebarker.info/tvwip.html)
- Clive Barker’s website: http://www.clivebarker.info/news.html
- Twitter: @RealCliveBarker
- Good Reads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52640.Weaveworld
- Ritual of the Stones: http://ritualofthestones.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/book-review-weaveworld.html
Cat Fitzpatrick, 8.5/10
Clive Barker wrote Weaveworld in 1987 and now, 28 year later, it is far from forgotten and remains a popular and lasting example of what magic can occur when fantasy, myth, horror and great storytelling collide.
The story begins with a rug - not just any rug but a rug into which a world has been woven. It is the world of the Seerkind, a people more ancient than man, who possesses raptures - the power to make magic. In the last century they were hunted down by an unspeakable horror known as the Scourge, and, threatened with annihilation, they worked their strongest raptures to weave themselves and their culture into a rug for safekeeping. Since then, the rug has been guarded by human caretakers. And the last of the caretakers has just died.
Vying for possession of the rug is a spectrum of unforgettable characters: Suzanna, granddaughter of the last caretaker, who feels the pull of the Weaveworld long before she knows the extent of her own powers; Calhoun Mooney, a pigeon-raising clerk who finds the world he's always dreamed of in a fleeting glimpse of the rug; Immacolata, an exiled Seerkind witch intent on destroying her race, even if it means calling back the Scourge; and her sidekick, Shadwell, the Salesman, who will sell the Weaveworld to the highest bidder.
The rug is unwoven, and we travel deep into the glorious raptures of the Weaveworld before we witness the final, cataclysmic struggle for its possession.
Clive Barker is a man held in the highest regard by fellow authors, critics and others. The great imaginer of our time according to Quentin Tarantino. Weaveworld is as unique as it is entertaining, a wonderful mix of fantasy and horror woven into reality. Barker's writing is often hypnotic and he makes you feel empathy for his characters.
Weaveworld makes for compelling reading, a master wordsmith of great imagination and a leaning towards the poetic. I highly recommend this dreamlike page-turner to fans of both the fantasy and horror genres.
Have you read Weaveworld?
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Weaveworld reader reviews
Michael from England
Graham from England
Fantastic science fantasy book, read first 20 odd years ago and just re-read, and its still as good. Coming from Liverpool did have a look for some locations and found one or two. Weaveworld tour anyone?
Andrew from Australia
Weaveworld, read this book some 25 years back and a couple more times since. It is a epic, imaginative piece of work that you just can not put down once you start. I have read hundreds of books, but have to say this is one of my most favourites. Once this book is read, you will never forget it. Another favourite short book to consider is 'Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming'. Cheers
David from Sussex
Great character introduction and description... felt like I was there the whole time... watching, participating not sure who I wanted to find the carpet. I had a sympathetic feeling for evil sometimes during this read. Cannot say enough about this book.
Justin from Canada
I loved this book. It was terrific. I've never written a review before but this book was very well paced with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing through out. Exquisitely written and just a blast to read. The Best Underrated Books - www.yourhiddengems.com
9.6/10 from 6 reviews
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