Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Review: Clive Barker's Galilee

It’s been awhile since I’ve read a novel by Clive Barker. I’ve always enjoyed his books, especially Cabal. Since Halloween was just around the corner I was also in the mood for something with a bit of a scare. Fortunately for me, I was more in the mood for a good story than frights, because while there are some vividly haunting scenes in Galilee, it is not a bonechiller. The element Galilee has that I enjoyed immensely was a style of prose that makes they story so wonderful I was savoring the words.
The story of Galilee is told by Maddox, Galilee’s half-brother, they are both members of the Barbarossa family. A family with a very powerful and strange background, they seem to have the ability to live for centuries and have some mystical powers, but they are not Vampires. Maddox narrates the history of the family with fantastic tales surrounding the family’s members, although his main subject is Galilee. Galilee is the outcast of the family that lives by the sea, occasionally coming in contact with members of the Geary family. Unlike, the Barbarossa family, the Geary family is very much human, they are rich and very petty people. You can also easily pick up that they were modeled after the Kennedys. The conflict of the story involves Galilee’s relationship with Rachel Pollenberg, Mitchell Geary’s wife and the connections between the two families since the Civil War.
What’s interesting about Galilee is thinking back on the novel, the conflicts and climaxes are really quite subtle. For all the grand talk Maddox does about the events that are taking place, they are relatively small tragedies. However, the way Maddox lays out the tale and describes the events you’d think the world was continually crumbling around him. In many ways, Galilee is Clive Barker’s Gothic Romance novel, it’s dark, mysterious, and achingly beautiful.

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