In the Flesh, by Clive Barker


bob5ush1.JPG (300×448)Author: Clive Barker

Title: In the Flesh

Genre: Horror, Fantasy

Publication Date: 1986

Number of Pages: 182

Geographical Setting: Britain and Greece

Time Period: contemporary (to when it was written – the 80s)

Series: Books of Blood, vol. 5 (works as a stand-alone title)

Plot Summary:

In the Flesh contains four elegantly chilling novellas.  In the title story, a prisoner watches in fear as his young cellmate is slowly transformed into a monster by his murderous dead grandfather. “The Forbidden” tells a story of urban decay, as a young woman is repeatedly drawn to the graffiti in a decaying tenement complex.  The theme of urban decay is again present in “The Madonna,” as two businessmen scheme to revitalize a decrepit bathhouse, unaware of the mysterious and terrifying creatures within.  The last story, “Babel’s Children,” is unique within the collection for its lack of supernatural beings; it tells the story of a young woman who decides to explore off the beaten path, and quickly runs into trouble when she discovers an isolated compound in the Greek countryside.

Subject Headings: Good and evil; Ghosts; Graffiti; Grandfathers; Murderers; Politics; Poverty; Prisons; Urban legends

Appeal: Atmospheric, chilling, compelling, dark, foreboding, intellectual, nightmare, sophisticated, stark, supernatural, suspenseful, violent, well-crafted

3 terms that best describe this book: chilling, intellectual, violent

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Urban Legends: A Collection of International Tall Tales and Terrors, by Gillian Bennett and Paul Smith – Readers who liked “The Forbidden” for its urban setting and the outlandish tales and conspiracy theories of the tenement residents will appreciate this collection of urban legends.

Peninsula of Lies: A True Story of Mysterious Birth and Taboo Love, by Edward Ball

Sexuality and sexual transformations make frequent appearances in Barker’s work, including “The Madonna.”  Readers drawn to this aspect of Barker’s writing will appreciate this compelling true tale of a gender switch in the 1960s.

Supernatural Murders: Classic True-Crime Stories, by Jonathan Goodman

This anthology of thirteen true crime stories with purported supernatural elements will capture the attention of those who appreciate the elements of violence and the supernatural in In the Flesh.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Just After Sunset, by Stephen King – like In the Flesh, this is a collection of horror stories with a suspenseful tone and compelling writing.

What the Night Knows, by Dean Koontz – a horror novel with suspenseful, compelling writing, a supernatural elements, and murderers.

Something Wicked this Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury – a horror and fantasy novel with an atmospheric tone, compelling writing, and a focus on good and evil.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: