Clive Barker is back with a new novel! Mister B. Gone is now available in a lovely hardcover edition. The dust jacket labels it a ‘tour de force of the supernatural.’ That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but Clive Barker has written a nice, compact, unconventional horror novel.
The hardcover edition itself is lovely, as I have said: it has an antiquated-looking dust jacket combined with an ornate lining and artificially yellowed pages. This is all part of the book’s premise: you are not holding a mass-produced novel written in 2007, but rather a unique volume put together in the year 1438, which contains the bound soul of a demon who will speak directly to you through the course of the reading, growing more angry and sinister as you progress.
Also in the reading you will learn the story of Jakabok Botch, the trapped demon, and the horrible things he’s done and the terrible secrets he holds. Clive Barker clearly had some fun writing what may very well be the first book that actively discourages people from reading it, first through exhortations to burn the volume and later through overt threats against the reader. The initial pages of the volume are filled with repetitive pleading, and actually discourage a little more than Barker probably would like, but after that the book is hard to put down. I finished it over the course of a few hours last night and this morning! Those who enjoy the more ghastly events that characterize Barker’s earlier work will find a few really nasty bits for their tastes.
Because of the beautiful printing, and its atmospheric relevance, this is also one of the few books that is especially worth getting in hardcover. All in all, Mister B. Gone is a clever horror tale told from a unique point of view through the words of an unconventional protagonist.