Weaveworld by Clive Barker ~ Audiobook Review

Cover of Weaveworld

Weaveworld by Clive Barker

Published by: Poseidon Press

Published: 1987

Page Count: 672

Genre: Fantasy

My Reading Format: Audiobook downloaded from Audible.com with a credit provided by the publisher for review consideration.

Audiobook Published by: Crossroad Press

Narrator: Simon Vance

Audiobook Length: 21 hours 12 minutes

Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, and Audiobook

Summary from the Publisher:

Here is storytelling on a grand scale — the stuff of which a classic is made. Weaveworld begins with a rug — a wondrous, magnificent rug — into which a world has been woven. It is the world of the Seerkind, a people more ancient than man, who possesses raptures — the power to make magic. In the last century they were hunted down by an unspeakable horror known as the Scourge, and, threatened with annihilation, they worked their strongest raptures to weave themselves and their culture into a rug for safekeeping. Since then, the rug has been guarded by human caretakers.

The last of the caretakers has just died.

Vying for possession of the rug is a spectrum of unforgettable characters: Suzanna, granddaughter of the last caretaker, who feels the pull of the Weaveworld long before she knows the extent of her own powers; Calhoun Mooney, a pigeon-raising clerk who finds the world he’s always dreamed of in a fleeting glimpse of the rug; Immacolata, an exiled Seerkind witch intent on destroying her race even if it means calling back the Scourge; and her sidekick, Shadwell, the Salesman, who will sell the Weaveworld to the highest bidder.

In the course of the novel the rug is unwoven, and we travel deep into the glorious raptures of the Weaveworld before we witness the final, cataclysmic struggle for its possession.

Barker takes us to places where we have seldom been in fiction–places terrifying and miraculous, humorous, and profound. With keen psychological insight and prodigious invention, his trademark graphic vision balanced by a spirit of transcendent promise, Barker explores the darkness and the light, the magical and the monstrous, and celebrates the triumph of the imagination.

My Review
The name Clive Barker strikes fear in my heart. I am a child of the 80s and the title NightBreed is all I need to jump under the bed. I am chickenhearted when it comes to books and movies. I honestly admit that I would never have even considered listening to the new audiobook version of Weaveworld were it not for one crucial factor: my love of Simon Vance’s narration. Still, I approached this audiobook warily. It began with the Introduction written by the author and that is what made me comfortable. It’s closing line, however, really got me excited:

To dream in isolation can be properly splendid to be sure; but to dream in company seems to me infinitely preferable.

If Clive Barker could write something as beautiful as that, I was more than willing to rise to the challenge as a reader.

Weaveworld is the story of the the magical Seerkind, who have weaved themselves inside a rug to keep themselves safe from a powerful force that wanted nothing less than to destroy them. When the keeper of this carpet dies, a struggle for this carpet and all that it represents erupts. Two humans become integral to the survival of the Seerkind. Suzanna is the granddaughter of the last caretaker and is haunted by her grandmother’s house.  Cal Mooney, a working class man, is completely unaware that a magical world exists, until a search for one of his father’s escaped pigeons leads him falling into an alley. During this fall, he catches a glimpse of the Seerkind’s carpet and what it truly is. From that point on, he is as tied to the fate of the carpet and its inhabitants as Suzanna.

The scene of the carpet when Cal is falling down onto it is so striking and beautiful. It made me want to be Cal and see what he saw. This as well as the Introduction made me realize how much I underestimated Clive Barker as a writer. He had me in the grip of his story and I loved being there. That is not to say that Weaveworld is a novel that moves from one beautiful scene to another. This is a dark, dark novel and I could determine right from wrong and good from bad in this world Barker created based upon the appeal of his writing. Immacolata and her henchman Shadwell quite often disgusted and horrified me. Her name is purposeful and her connection to the Catholic Church made me more than a little twitchy. If I never hear the word menstruum again it will be too soon. What Shadwell did to Cal’s father was one of the saddest things I’ve ever read. The relationship between Immacolata and Shadwell and the mere exists of her sister witches was sickening. But then there was Cal and Suzanna, Nimrod and Lemuel Lo and I dearly wanted to see them succeed.

This is not the first time I ventured into unsure waters with Simon Vance on the horizon and I have yet to regret taking the leap. With Vance’s talent and range of expression and voice, Weaveworld couldn’t have been in better hands when this audiobook was produced. Having him read the scene where Cal sees the carpet was perhaps my single favorite Simon Vance audiobook moment. For me his voice was an aspect of the weave. I didn’t want it to end any more than Cal did. I also enjoyed what he did with that reprehensible Shadwell. I can only imagine how much fun it must be to play a part like that. And then there are the voices. If you’ve not experienced Simon Vance’s narration or his audiobooks that have a wide range of characters, pick up Weaveworld and enjoy the human and Seerkind characters as they speak. He will dazzle you.

There are some epic novels that fizzle out at the end. Not so with Weaveworld. It drew to a close in an epic showdown with the Scourge that was vivid and suspenseful. I was hanging on every word. While there were sections that made me uncomfortable and were downright gross, reading this book felt important. It is a testament to the power a few good people can have in this world. If you’ve read this book 25 years ago or haven’t yet read it at all, I recommend picking up this audiobook.

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