I have spent the last couple weeks reading Clive Barker´s newest novel for children,
It is the first installment of a sequel of books which deals with a young girl´s journey on the archipelago Abarat, whose apparent proximity appears to be in another dimension superimposed upon the barren wilderness outside of Chickentown,Minnesota…
The story is evocative not only of Clive Barker´s earlier writings, there is a dark sea of dreams, the Sea Izabella, which reminds readers of
On the outskirts of Chickentown,Minnesota – population 36,793 there is a tall tower made of timber whose function would puzzle the most imaginative of its townfolk, it is a lighthouse, raised for some bizzare function over 1000 miles from the shoreline. Escaping the persecution of her peers and her teacher who do not appreciate her attempts of making her dull and unimaginative town more exciting, she is the first in over a hundred years to discover the haunted tower, but also a strange creature who apparently is waiting for her.
During the ensuing tumults she is presented with a key for which it is fated she should become the custodian of. Unknowing she is maneuvred into a jeopardy she would never have dreamed of. I know little about the deal Barker did with Disney, but am quite sure he has not “prostituted” his gifts and talents to the “Industry”, at least this is my impression from reading Abarat.
The artwork is quite characteristic of Barker and much to be preferred for anything the artists at Disney could have produced for the mass market, but its appeal lays as well in its weirdness and grimness, a grimness which is quite appropriate for the kind of tale we are told in Abarat.
I really appreciated his last effort in the genre,
In fact, I am sure adult readers such as myself can find it as enchanting as it most probably will be for a younger audience – and that it has potentional of earning the same enthusiasm from its readers as some of Roald Dahl´s classics.
Having read the book almost from cover to cover, I am again perusing the first great fantasy epics of Barker, Weaveworld, with new appetite.