First published back in October of 1987, Clive Barker’s epic dark fantasy novel ‘Weaveworld’ has received much (well deserved) acclaim over the years – hailing the novel as one of Barker’s most loved publications to date. The novel saw itself nominated in 1988 for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, but was pipped at the post by Ken Grimwood’s fantasy bestseller ‘Replay’ (1987).
When twenty-six-year-old pigeon-raising clerk, Calhoun Mooney, accidentally comes in contact with a strangely elaborate rug, he glimpses a magical world hidden within its very weave. For woven into the rug, away from the eyes of our own world, is the magical world of the Fugue. Here, the inhabitants of this secret world, known as the Seerkind, have concealed themselves away from the torments of mankind via a magic they named the ‘Rapture’. However, another threat haunts their past. A destructive and powerful force known as ‘The Scourge’ which slaughtered hundreds of the Seerkind in times gone by. On top of this further danger awaits the Seerkind in the form of the Fugue outcast – Immacolata, who seeks revenge on the Seerkind for casting her out of their magic world.
However, following the recent death of its human caretaker, Mimi Laschenski, the magical rug now runs the risk of falling into the wrong hands, resulting in Fugue becoming trapped forever within its weave, or worse still, it could face complete annihilation. Meanwhile, Mimi’s granddaughter, Suzanna Parish, is slowly beginning to piece together the clues of the rugs hidden world; clues that were passed down to her by her dying grandmother.
Meanwhile, seedy salesman Shadwell, with his magic jacket that holds the power of persuasion within its glittering lining has joined the fight for the rugs possession. Together with the ruthless Immacolata, the two form a dangerous threat against the survival of the Fugue and ultimately the race of the Seerkind.
Calhoun Mooney together with the last caretaker of the rug, Suzanna Parish, must now fight for the very existence of this magical hidden world. A fight that will be held in our world and the world of the Fugue. A fight that will tear down the walls of what we believe to be reality and cause a battle more ferocious than the world has ever seen before. The magic is in the weave, and it’s finally time to let it out...
Welcome to the breathtaking world of Clive Barker’s seemingly limitless imagination. For the British born dark-fantasy author, this early piece of fiction (being his second full length novel – ‘The Damnation Game’ (1985) being his first, and ‘The Hellbound Heart’ (1986) - being itself more of a novella), ‘Weaveworld’ turned out to be a magnificent tour de force of limitless dark fantasy.
There’s literally no escaping the uncontrollable draw of Barker’s writing. His incredible ability at creating some of the most elaborate and enchanting worlds alongside outlandish twists in reality is simply mind-blowing. The vivid and elaborate construction and portrayal of each and every aspect of these wildly imaginative worlds, each conjured up with the flowing ease of a great storyteller, is what really ensnares the reader from the very outset until the final word on the final page.
The resulting trip through Barker’s fantastically dreamlike mind-set is both magical and macabre – sensual and darkly seductive; celebrating the union of the author’s principal platforms that he continually explores to great length. Furthermore, the novel has its fair share of that same hauntingly dark horror that we had previously seen in Barker’s earlier work, tightly nestled within many of its pages. None more so than the horror that culminates within the character of the ‘Hag’, whose very presence within the tale is constantly of a nightmarish but incredibly well portrayed nature.
The numerous characters that fill out the multi-layered and impressively complex storyline are each given a wealth of individual charm and wonderful depth of characterisation. There’s certainly no skipping out on building up the bonds between the reader and the characters. And throughout the length of the tale, Barker rigorously invests in a constant growth to the development of each one of his characters – never letting their roles within the plot be taken for granted.
The impact and lasting-impression of the tale is evidence enough of its literary merits. Even after fifteen years since first reading the novel, after just a brief skim through the length of the book, the stories, characters and subplots have come flooding back to the forefront of my memory. To achieve this to such an impressive degree, the tale had to connect with the reader and become instantly engaging at each and every stage of the book. This is where ‘Weaveworld’ really excels beyond belief. In creating such a massively complex and mind-blowingly imaginative tale, Barker has managed to deliver a storyline that never once becomes tiresome, overbearing or uneventful. Its pace is constant and dramatic, the storyline is monumentally eventful, and its ultimate delivery is utterly compelling.
It’s hard to describe exactly how much of an incredible impact the tale has on the reader. It’s a novel that quite simply needs to be experienced. Within its layers and depths there is such an abundance of the man behind the novel, as well as some clearly dramatic turning points for the author’s literary style which will ultimately carve away a brave new direction.
The novel was later adapted into a three-part graphic novel series by Erik Saltzgaber and illustrated by Mike Manley entitled ‘Weaveworld’ (1991).
The novel runs for a total of 722 pages.
© DLS Reviews