Book Review: Mister B. Gone (Clive Barker)
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: October 21st 2008
Summary (from Goodreads):
You hold in your hands not a book at all, but a terrifying embodiment of purest evil. Can you feel the electric tingle in your fingers as you are absorbed by the demon Jakabok’s tale of his unintentional ascent from the depths of the Inferno? Do you sense the cold dread worming its way into your bloodstream, your sinews, the marrow of your bones as you read more deeply into his earthly education and unspeakable acts? The filth you now grasp has been waiting patiently for you for nearly six hundred years. And now, before you are completely in its thrall, you would do well to follow the foul creature’s admonition and destroy this abomination of ink and paper before you turn a single leaf and are lost forever.
You have been warned.
This book starts with our narrator, a demon named Mister B, asking you as the reader, to burn the book. He repeats his plea, but as you read on he realises it’s to no avail and agrees to share some of his story if you promise to burn the book when he is done. This bargaining continues until he eventually tells you all his story, including how he ended up trapped in the book in the first place. The story is told in a conversational way, as Mister B talks directly to you, acknowledging the relationship between you as narrator and reader, even playing with it as times (trying to make you stop reading by omitting every other word, etc).
Mister B. Gone tells the story of Jakabok Botch (Mister B) as he is burned in a horrific fire, evades death at his father’s hands, is brought up from hell by a group of inept demon catchers and then meets another demon, Quitoon, who he travels Earth tormenting the locals with, until the book reaches a climax in a small German town with a man named Gutenburg.
As a publishing student I had a good guess at where the book was going when they mentioned Gutenburg and some world changing machine he had made. I liked the idea that his printing press was so incredible that both heaven and hell get involved.
This book was well written, with some really gruesome descriptions of what Jakabok and Quitoon do to humans – lots of the baby stuff made me cringe as a new mum! I didn’t feel this was really my kind of book though – it moved a little slow for my liking and I found it wordy and dull at some times. Still, I can see why others would like it and I’d recommend it if you like something a little dark and twisted.