This is a wonderful book of dark fantasy. It tells the story of very long running feud between the richest, most powerful family in America and an American family of gods. It is an epic story with a large cast of characters, and spans several centuries. Barker paints a wonderful portrait of power, romance, and rage.
From Publishers Weekly
A family saga isn't what we'd expect from Barker (Sacrament), the most ambitious dark fantasist of our time, but that's what he delivers in his most elegant, and most conventional, novel yet. A Barker family saga is perforce unlike othersAand so not only are two entwined families chronicled here but one, the Barbarossas, descends from voracious divinities, "two souls as old as heaven"; the other, the Gearys, are modeled roughly on the Kennedys. The story, an intricate mosaic of first-person and third, is narrated by the reclusive Maddox Barbarossa as a history he writes in the family manse hidden in the Virginia woods and designed long ago by Thomas Jefferson, one of his divine stepmother's countless lovers. Its canvas stretches from New York to Hawaii to the Middle East, from the "ancient day" when Maddox's half-brother, Galilee, was baptized through the American Civil WarAduring which Galilee joins forces with the impoverished Southern founder of the Geary dynasty, whose cruelty and greed ensures the Gearys' immense wealth and power. Most of the story rests in the present, however, concentrating on the newest Geary, n?e Rachel Pallenberg, who marries a callow Geary scion only to witness the outbreak of "war" between the Gearys and Barbarossas and to become the latest Geary woman to fall under the spell of the near-immortal, sexually mesmerizing Galilee. The novel's scale is smaller than that of previous Barker effortsAmissing are the titanic battles of form vs. chaos, good vs. evil, the riot of wonders and terrors. But it's less cluttered, too, despite abundant inspiration and invention and satisfying smatterings of Barker-brand sex, scatology and violence. Above all, there is a new richness of character, of its warpings and transfigurations by hatred and love, blood legacy and death.
Clive Barker is at it again, he brings up a new series starting with this book. It gives us a new look at two families locked in a war of flesh and fantasy. Its a must read.....
Those grand shapes moving overhead, like columns of smoke passing across the sun had all the gravity of a requiem; while the forms that moved close to me reeled and swaggered as though to a drunken polka.
When you read that sentence, do you see a picture? If you do you have to read this book. It is the story of 2 families that takes place over centuries of time. While reading this book I would sometimes forget where I was. I was so caught up in the story I did not want to put it down. I read all 637 pages in less than a week. I am just sorry that I forgot how great a writer Clive Barker is. I plan to read the books by Clive Barker I did not read and reread the ones I read years ago.
Involving, good suspense, magical, epic, a little slow.
I didn't meet Clive Barker as an author of the "horror" genre. I read Imajica first, and then The Great and Secret Show, and Everville. None of these were "horror" books the way I have ever considered the genre, although I've seen some people call these books "gorefests" (which I don't quite get - I thought horror was gratuitous violence, not meaningful blood). My point is that I was not disappointed that this book fell short of "horror" (as so many people have mentioned). I wasn't expecting horror, I was expecting magical realism, epic-style. And I got just that.
This book reminds me a little of 'The Prince of Tides' (don't laugh - I'm serious!). It's epic length, follows a family closely, looks inside of them and then *features* their dysfunction. That's what fascinates the reader. And in this book, magic, not just politics, saturates the family history.
Don't go into this book expecting gross/horror/sex/blood. It's not that kind of book. It's a detailed novel of magical realism with a long, stylized, constructed plot. And Clive Barker has something to say while he entertains you. His message, which I won't give away, is probably the most frightening part of the book.
I liked this book up until the end where, for me, it just...ended. I wanted more and there was no more. I don't know if there is another book that compliments this one, but feel there almost should be. If there was (is) I would definately read it.
Over many years and many books, Clive Barker has earned a reputation as the thinking person's horror writer. His novels have mixed fantasy, psychology, and sheer creepiness in almost equal quantities, and while the gore quotient remains relatively low, the tension always runs high. In Galilee, however, Barker soft-pedals the ghoulish in favor of the gothic. His novel (or as the author would have it, "romance") tells the tale of two warring families caught up in a disastrous web of corruption, illicit sexuality, and star-crossed love, with a soupçon of the supernatural thrown in as well. On one side are the wealthy Gearys--a fictional stand-in for the Kennedys--and on the other are the Barbarossas, a mysterious black clan that has been around since the time (quite literally) of Adam. Galilee chronicles the twisted course of this centuries-old family feud, which centers around the magical Barbarossa matriarch Cesaria and her son Galilee. Indeed, it's the latter figure--one part Heathcliff to one part Christ--whose relationship with the Geary women sets a match to the entire powder keg of hostility and resentment. Mixing standard clichés of romance with his own peculiarly deep-fried version of the Southern gothic, Baker has come up with an intelligent and shamelessly amusing potboiler.
A good book. It has quite a breadth to it, many interesting characters. At times I could not put it down, but at others I was skipping ahead. I suppose it evens out eh?
Romance done at its best.
I gave up on this one at page 110 because I just couldn't face another 500 pages of this high class drivel. Had I been actually reading this instead of listening to it in my car, I wouldn't have made it past the first chapter. I expected a sci-fi thriller from Clive Barker not this Kennedy-esque family saga. In the first 100 pages, there was everything from rape, sodomy, gays, lesbians, fights, infidelity, a religious zealot-a fishermen turned prophet. Yet even so, it was boring as hell. I've never been on to read the papers and magazines featuring the overly rich and aimless. This book is like following John Kennedy around and noting his every move and breath. Just too boring for words.
I know I'm not the only one who quit where I did, since I was forced to rewind tape three in order to listen to it so someone else gave up in the same spot. I kept going hoping it was eventually going to get exciting or something (anything) was going to happen. Finally I just could't listen to that monotonous narrator for even one more word.
The Geary family has reined over American society for decades.But it is a family with dark, terrible secrets. They are a family at war.Their adversaries are the Barbarossas, a clan whose timeless origins lie in myth, whose mysttical influence is felt in the intense, sensual exchanges of flesh and soul. Now, the battle is about to escalate.....'
A little slow and an abrupt ending.
I never read it. I couldn't get into it, I have heard it is very good though if that helps at all.
I am really a Clive Barker fan but I don't know WHAT was up with this book.536 pages to get to the main plot which would have made an outstanding book if the reader wasn't left waiting for somethig to happen for 536 pages.
Rich and powerful, the Geary dynasy has reigned over American society for decades. But it is a family with dark terrible secrets. For the Gearys are a family at war. And their adversaries are the Barbarossas, a clan whose timeless origins lie in myth, whose mystical influence is felt in the intense, sensual exchanges of flesh and soul. Now, their battle is about to escalate.... When Galilee, prodigal prince of the Barbarossa clan, meets Rachel, young bride of the Gearys' own scion Mitchell, they fall in love, consumed by a passion that unleashes long-simmering hatreds. Old insanities arise, old adulteries are uncovered, and a seemingly invincible family will begin to wither, exposing its unholy roots....