Chiliad: A Meditation
by Clive Barker
Cover Artist: Jon Foster
Review by Mario Guslandi
Subterranean Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781596065956
Date: 31 January 2014 List Price $30.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
A polyhedric artist, Clive Barker is not only a horror and fantasy writer, but also, a painter, a playwright, a film director and producer, and a video game creator. Hence, much to the dismay of his many devotees, he is not a very prolific author of dark fiction. Any new story or book by Barker is therefore a rare but exciting event.
His latest work is a novella of less than one hundred pages, but, believe me, every page, every sentence, is worth the price of the book.
Chiliad (which means the passing of one thousand years) is a two-part narrative taking place by a river flowing backward and forward through time, where two violent deeds, the murders of two women, occurred at a distance of a millennium from each other. While time and the river flow, we discover the naked truth behind the two murders -- aimless, cruel acts born from the evil root of the human soul.
But page after page the novella becomes much more: the superbly portrayed representation of the cruelty of the universe, of the frailty of the human condition, of the unfathomable mystery of life and death, of love and hate.
I've often missed the early Barker as a horror author (the one who wrote the seminal series of The Books of Blood) and I didnít always like his fantasy novels, but here Iím in awe of a writer able again to leave me completely spellbound.
Chiliad is not quite a horror novella, nor a fantasy piece -- simply a true masterpiece regardless of subgenres and labels.