CABAL Review

Cabal - Clive Barker

The basis for the horror film Nightbreed, Clive Barker's short 1988 novel Cabal is typically Barkian in all the best ways. Off the page drips this author's trademark transcendent prose; poetic and striking and maddeningly puzzling, line for line Barker is one of the most talented writers in the business. I must admit I am sure parts of this story went over my head, but I don't mind — that gives me cause to revisit this dark tale again in a couple of years.


This is the story of a man called Boone, who suffers from an unnamed mental illness. He is the core of the story — all that happens happens because of him. I absolutely loved the semi-fantastical place he ran to (said place being Midian), a place that is not found on any map and is crawling with shape-shifting monsters. I thought the tone and atmosphere of this story was spot-on: it evoked dread and fear without going over the top. It stays cool, and creepy.


Filled with gore and love and lust and regret and death, Cabal is classic Barker. And at only 200 pages in hardcover, this story about what's in between life and death (and what it means to be a true monster) is a quick and rewarding read. I liked it a lot!


Read for Darkest London. Though this story doesn't take place in that city, this authors hails from there and this novella very much resembles London horror. So I'm counting it.