This is what it’s like when dominions collide
First on the list of my favourite books is Imajica. Clive Barker is as big as they come in Horror fiction but isn’t as big is I think he deserves to be. There aren’t many people I can talk to about Clive’s work, unless referring to Hellraiser perhaps, so fingers crossed this will help. This book for me was a huge insight into just how far an imagination could stretch and is the bench mark for vision that I have yet to find an equal for.
Earth is one of five dominions and once every two hundred years, when the five are aligned, a powerful magician may be able to crack the void that keeps apart the other four dominions and earth. Not everyone wants the “Reconciliation” to happen and they will go to whatever lengths to stop earth contacting the other worlds.
John Furie Zacharias, or Gentle, is a troubled artist. His eccentric lifestyle has pushed away nearly everything and this leaves him trying to come to terms with his frequent lover being with someone else. When Judith’s husband hires shape shifting assassin, Pie ‘oh’ Pah to kill her, Gentle, as he tries to stop it, becomes involved with Pie and they embark on a journey across the five dominions, from glittering cities to haunted mountains, where they must face Gentle’s fate. The journey pulls at the readers emotions as much as the characters with twists and turns in ways you will never see coming as they realize they are more connected than first thought. Complicated as the story may seem, I never felt overwhelmed by it.
I’ve heard many different views on this book since I read it more than two years ago now and not one of them has been the same. This has to be a good thing. Even though Barker is sometimes criticised for his vivid descriptions of sex and violence, I feel he hit every note with this one and produced five worlds, populated with vivid characters and settings that stick in your mind. I have found with some of his other books that his style, in which makes this great, misses the mark to the point of boredom. I recognize how beautifully descriptive the prose is but after a few minutes I find myself back on Twitter. Imajica is not a book you can put down so easily as Clive shifts though the storytelling gears.
Trying to recommend this book to people is a struggle before you even tell them the story. Imajica definitely resembles a house brick coming in at over 1,200 pages of tiny text. Please don’t let this put you off. This is one of the best books I’ve ever had the privilege of picking up and the effort you think will be needed when starting it turns out to be well worth it. I’m hoping I can connect with some of Barker’s other work as well as I did this one, as The Great and Secret Show is the only other I’ve been blown away by. At the moment this books sits pretty in my top ten favourite novels and I can’t see it being replaced although it would be nice to find the book that does.