Books of the Art

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Books of the Art or The Art Trilogy
Show1-250.jpg
Cover for The Great and Secret Show, the first Book of the Art
Author Clive Barker
Language English
Published 1989 - current
Media type Print, e-book

Books of the Art or The Art Trilogy is an incomplete trilogy of novels by Clive Barker, of which only the first two have been published.[1] The first book, The Great and Secret Show, was first published in 1989 and was followed by the second book, Everville, in 1994. The third book has yet to be written and there is currently no schedule for its release.[2][3] Of plans for the third book, Barker has stated that the book will be "a big book when it comes" and that he wants to write it with "as much feeling as possible."[4]

The trilogy has been cited as an example of Barker's use of magic as a motif to "comment upon the work of the creator of art" and Barker himself has used the term to describe transformative magic that is used as "windows through which to glimpse the miraculous".[3][5] The series thus far has been compared to J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.[6]

Synopsis[edit]

The Great and Secret Show[edit]

The Great and Secret Show follows Fletcher and Jaffe, two humans that have transcended reality and to become super-human. The two initially worked together but became adversaries when it became clear that Jaffe was intent on gaining control of Quiddity, a dream sea that humans can access only three times in their lives. The two men end up siring children by raping four teenage girls with the intention that they will continue their battles, only for two of their children to fall in love.

Everville[edit]

Main article: Everville

Everville delves deeper into the mythology of the cosm (essentially, Earth) and the metacosm (another plane of existence containing the dream sea Quiddity). The character Harry D'Amour appears in the novel as a main character and some of the characters from the previous novel also make appearances.

Untitled third novel[edit]

As Barker has yet to write the third book he has yet to confirm any concrete plot but has stated some of its basic themes.

I think what the third book will concern itself with is what the very origins of Quiddity, what the connection between humanity's origin and the origin of the conscience—the dream consciousness—that is there in the Sea of Quiddity, what that connection is. I've always believed in the idea of a collective unconscious, and Quiddity is really that. It's the sea we enter, as the mythology goes, where we enter once on the night when we are born, once on the night when we first kiss, and fall in love with the world, and once at the time we die. At the most serious and profound moments in our lives, we are given a moment to enter this place of pure dreaming, and that's fascinating, my fascination with dreaming. My dreams are mirrors of my soul. I'm hoping that will all be reflected in the third and final book.

Barker has also stated that he will not write the third book until he has finished the last book in The Books of Abarat series, which he stated could take years and would also be dependent on whether or not he wrote the sequel to Galilee first.[7] In 2014 he confirmed via Facebook that the book would be written and that he has "figured out" how he would write the ending.[8]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception for the trilogy to date has been mixed.[9][10] Common elements of criticism tend to center around the amount of characters and subplots, which caused an Everville reviewer to write that "when you weed out the subplots, you find there is no main plot."[11][12] Author David Foster Wallace was critical of The Great and Secret Show and wrote that while the book was "not without some cool sections" it was also overly pretentious.[13] Publishers Weekly panned the first novel but praised the second,[14] which they felt "confirms the author's position not only as one of horror's most potent and fertile minds but also as one of modern fiction's premier metaphysicians."[15]

Comic book series[edit]

Between March 2006 and May 2007 IDW Publishing released a 12-part comic book adaptation of The Great and Secret Show.[16] A complete collection of the comics was released in 2007.[17][18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joshi, S.T. (2001). The Modern Weird Tale. McFarland. p. 128. ISBN 9780786409860. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "Current Book Projects". Clive Barker. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Joshi, S. T. (2006). Icons of Horror and the Supernatural, V2. Greenwood. p. 587. ISBN 9780313337826. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Savory, Brett. "The Clive Barker Interview". The Internet Review of Science Fiction. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  5. ^ Hamilton, Geoff; Jones, Brian (2009). "Art"+"Great+and+Secret+Show"+Barker&hl=en&sa=X&ei=TdRNVZaKFoaoogSM64CgCg&ved=0CEIQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=%22Art%22%20%22Great%20and%20Secret%20Show%22%20Barker&f=false Encyclopedia of American Popular Fiction. Facts on File. p. 21. ISBN 9781438116945. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  6. ^ Winter, Douglas E. (2002). Clive Barker: the dark fantastic. Harper Collins. pp. 316, 383. ISBN 000715092X. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  7. ^ "FAQ". Clive Barker. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "BREAKING: Clive "figured it out" regarding ending of Art Trilogy". Clive Barker Podcast. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "Everville (review)". Booklist. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  10. ^ Budrys, Algis (February 4, 1990). "In summary, this wasn't a bad idea". Chicago Sun-Times (subscription required). Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  11. ^ Mabe, Chauncey. "Barker's `Everville' Is Nowhereville". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  12. ^ Tucker, Ken. "ONE UNIVERSE AT A TIME PLEASE". New York Times. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  13. ^ Foster Wallace, David (February 19, 1990). "The Horror of Pretentiousness". Washington Post (subscription required). Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  14. ^ "The Great and Secret Show: The First Book of the Art (review)". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  15. ^ "Everville: The Second Book of the Art (review)". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  16. ^ "AICN COMICS REVIEWS BATMAN! ULTIMATES! CLIVE BARKER'S THE GREAT AND SECRET SHOW! AND MUCH MORE!!!". AICN. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  17. ^ "IDW RELEASES CLIVE BARKER'S "THE GREAT AND SECRET SHOW" IN DECEMBER". IDW/CBR. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  18. ^ Royer, Dan. "Comic Review: The Complete Clive Barker's Great And Secret Show". HorrorNews.net. Retrieved 12 May 2015.