Mister B. Gone

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Mister B. Gone
First edition
Author Clive Barker
Cover artist Clive Barker
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Horror
Publisher Harper
Publication date
October 2007
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 256
ISBN 978-0-06-018298-4
OCLC 175222018
823/.914 22
LC Class PR6052.A6475 M57 2007

Mister B. Gone is a short metafiction novel by Clive Barker, published in the United Kingdom and the United States in October 2007.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

The story begins by immediately breaking the fourth wall, telling the reader to "Burn this book!" It is revealed that the narrator is some sort of presence trapped within the novel. The presence understands that the reader is not going to burn the book without hearing some sort of story, and so it begins to tell its tale.

The narrator reveals himself as a lesser demon named Jakabok Botch, who lived a traumatised childhood in Hell, especially due to his brutish, physically abusive demon of a father. To prevent himself from losing his mind, Jakabok decides to write violent, hate-filled papers in which he commits torture and patricide. Eventually, his mother comes across these papers, and confronts Jakabok, telling him that she wishes he was never born. She commands that he burn the papers immediately, and Jakabok reluctantly obeys.

While watching the papers burn, Jakabok passes out and lands face down in the fire. His father either fails to notice or simply ignores his son's anguish, choosing to beat his mother instead. Jakabok is later dragged from the flames by his father, severely burnt and disfigured. Fearing further abuse, Jakabok seizes a knife and flees, eventually coming across a peculiar sight: raw steak and beer, hanging as though it is on a fishing wire. The sight causes Jakabok's pursuing father to forget about inflicting pain on his son, approaching the free meal. It is revealed that the steak and beer is hanging from fishing wire, and Jakabok and his father are caught in the trap. They are "reeled" out of Hell. While ascending, Jakabok's father threatens and curses his son as Jakabok starts cutting away at his father's net, attempting to make it so his father, Pappy Gatmuss, will fall to his death (for if Gatmuss and Jakabok is brought to wherever it is they are being dragged, Gatmuss will kill Jakabok for sure.) Seeing Jakabok attempt to kill him, Gatmuss tries to play for sympathy, lying about his love for his son to gain pity. As they breach the first circle of hell, they see the crack they are being dragged into, which causes Gatmuss to panic and become hysteric (he seems to fear the light.) He struggles in his nets, which causes the already weakened ropes to snap, and Jakabok's father fatally falls back into Hell while Jakabok is dragged into the realm of the living.

Emerging, Jakabok finds himself in the 14th century, under the captivity of a corrupt priest and his partners. They begin to "judge Jakabok's worth", when he decides to run off into the forest. He approaches a young girl – one of the partners' daughters – in the midst of unholy ground, which is covered in demonic gore. He instantly falls in love, and asks if she would like to run off with him. She defies him, and so he smacks her face into the burning cauldron which she is working by. The priests' partners, who had been chasing him, see the girl and are distracted as Jakabok runs off.

Jakabok then encounters a couple in the grass. Jakabok is forced to kill the hostile male counterpart, taking his clothes. He wanders into a crowd trying to blend in as a peasant, but his inhuman feet give his disguise away. As the crowd approaches to massacre him, a pair of soldiers decide to take him away to be judged by an Archbishop. While being escorted away, one of the men kills the other. After horrendously slaughtering the crowd, the man reveals himself to Jakabok – now referred to as "Mister B." – as a powerful demon known as Quitoon.

Quitoon and Mister B. head off, and for the next one hundred years cause a great deal of calamity in the countryside. Eventually, the two find themselves in disagreement of each other, and separate after Quitoon threatens Jakabok. Jakabok takes refuge in the German town of Mainz, where he believes Quitoon has headed to, to reconcile his differences.

He stumbles across Johannes Gutenberg and his company – including the Archbishop and Quitoon – who claims to possess a secret so powerful that it could rock the foundations of even Heaven and Hell. The secret turns out to be the first printing press, over which a large battle soon erupts between the celestial and the infernal. Gutenberg's wife is revealed to be an angel. Jakabok is wounded and passes out. When he comes to, he discovers the conflict has ended.

Jakabok enters a room in which he sees the angels and demons conversing over the secret, where the Archbishop reveals himself to be a demon. They spot Jakabok, and argue over how to keep him silent about the secret. Instead of destroying him, they turn his very essence into words, and embed him onto paper.

At this point, Jakabok – after several persuading attempts throughout the story – threatens the reader one final time to burn the book and set him free. After realising that the reader is heartless and cold, he gives up on asking. He decides to stop telling the story, and instead chooses to wait for another person to open the book and obey his demands to set the book ablaze. After all, he concludes, "words know how to wait."


External links[edit]