IMAJICA by Clive Barker


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 Dazzling metaphysical epic-adventure as Barker surpasses his previous ground-breaking work (The Great and Secret Show, 1989, etc.) to reconfigure the Fall and to imagine a modern-day attempt to reverse it. A complex cosmology underpins the vigorous, at times horrific, action here: ``Imajica'' is the known universe of five ``Dominions,'' or parallel worlds, four ``reconciled'' but the fifth, Earth, ``unreconciled''--unaware of the other four, of the tyrannical ``Autarch'' who rules them, and of the ``God Hapeximendios,'' who oversees all five (and who wrested ``His'' power from the ``Goddesses'' of old). Periodically, Hapeximendios has sent His ``sons''--including Christ--to attempt to unite, by magical rites, the Fifth Dominion to the others. The last attempted ``Reconciliation'' ended in catastrophe--an invasion of Earth by hellish powers--and today magic has been nearly eradicated from Earth by a ``Society'' that alone knows of the Imajica and of the catastrophe. The densely woven story here opens with a jealous man venturing into London's dankest slum to hire an assassin to kill his estranged wife, Judith; the assassin turns out to be a ``mystif,'' a fabulous creature from the Second Dominion, capable of appearing as the erotic ideal of any who behold it. As the mystif hunts Judith, it in turn is hunted by Judith's former lover, ``Gentle,'' who in time learns that he is the new ``Reconciler''- -and the mystif his long-forgotten servant. Undertaking dangerous, splendor-filled journeys through the other Dominions, Gentle and the mystif fall in love, marry, and encounter numerous fantastic creatures and, finally, death; later, Gentle helps dethrone the Autarch, learns the chilling secret of his and Judith's origin, helps free the Goddesses and slay God, and, back on Earth, inspires the destruction of the Society and undertakes Reconciliation--with hell-borne, then heaven-sent, results. An astonishing feat of the imagination, immensely engrossing despite its demanding--at times indulgent--length, running riot with ideas, fantastical inventions, graphic sex and violence, soul- terrors, and emotional and intellectual resonances. Barker's best yet.*justify no*

Pub Date: Sept. 11th, 1991
ISBN: 0-06-017922-8
Page count: 832pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1991


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