Volume 92, Issue 99
Wednesday, April 7, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Barker transcends genres
Few people are as versatile and talented as Clive Barker. Barker is not only a novelist but he is also a filmmaker (Hellraiser, Lord of Illusions, Gods and Monsters), as well as a playwright and visual artist. He further demonstrates his versatility in the novel, Galilee.
Although it has some horrific elements, it is difficult to classify Galilee as a horror novel it is difficult to classify Galilee period.
The story follows the Barbarossa family, chronicled by Edward Maddox Barbarossa who simply goes by the name Maddox. This tale of the Barbarossas combines history, myth and a powerful American family, the Gearys. The Geary family is American royalty the corporate equivalent of the Kennedys only with a longer and darker history.
The character of Rachel Pallenberg is at the centre of the tale as she marries the most eligible bachelor in America, Mitchell Geary, but ends up falling in love with Galilee Barbarossa. The consequence is a family feud of epic proportions.
The novel manages to transcend genres, mixing elements of historical fiction, horror, mystery, fantasy and romance. Galilee also demonstrates Barker's adaptability within the form of the novel. He manages to alternate between first and third person narration with ease and veteran skill.
Barker uses the extended form of the novel to its full capacity, spending a great deal of time developing each important character and allowing the reader to get to know them intimately.
The book is a little difficult to get into in the beginning, but those who read on are well rewarded. Throughout the novel the mystery of the Barbarossa family, along with other mysteries, are slowly revealed, instilling in the reader a thirst for knowledge and a desire to read on.
Galilee is more than a novel it's an experience. Barker plays with the readers' emotions, developing relationships within the novel which make the reader truly care for characters who come alive on every page.
At first its length, sitting at 637 pages, can be off-putting but by the end, readers will long for more.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999