Sunday, 27 October 2013

Clive Barker's 'In the Hills, the Cities'


Clive Barker is well known, so little probably needs to be said about a man who is best known for his Hellraiser series or even The Books of Blood.
The main plot of 'In the Hills, the Cities' centres around Judd and Mick, two lovers on their honeymoon through Yugoslavia. The two men don’t necessarily get along very well and wonder just why they married each other, which is a tension poetically played against the two towns of Podujevo and Populac, in which these two honeymooners visit the former city whilst lost but meet a horrifically bloody sight they do not know how to process.
This short story from 1984, in its few pages, is actually rather full-bodied even when using multiple voices to narrate the tale. This way the reader is given a good idea of what is going on in many areas of the story, even with the underlying reason of why still niggling at the back of the skull. There is a lot of detail in terms of the body, its limitations and just what it takes to push the body into something more than itself; in terms of both an individual and whole community scale. This interest in bodily horror itself was intriguing and made me want to see just how bodies and minds would fare by the end.
4/5
Check out ‘The Weird’ edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer for this story and others in the same field of weird and terrifying.  

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