Sunday, February 24, 2013

Review of The Hellbound Heart

The Hellbound Heart: A Novel

The line between pleasure and pain is often so thin as to be completely nonexistent. Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of sadomasochism knows that receiving and inflicting pain can be a singularly euphoric experience. Few books ever explore this dichotomy as openly as The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker. Barker managers to plum the common human psyche, the dark recesses of our collective unconscious so to speak, and present a vision that can be seen as a cautionary morality play. Because sexuality is a primary impulse (in much the same way that food is) it can be both exhilarating and dangerous. Barker captures the darkest aspects of human sexuality in his tale.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Review of Ham on Rye

Ham on Rye: A Novel

Horror stories often involve the supernatural or the extra-ordinary. Often times the only mundane subjects in such stories are the principal characters, generally mortal men and women bereft in a world that once made perfect sense. But what if the world never made sense? What if the horror itself was mundane and the result of a sometimes banal landscape? Charles Bukowski’s Ham on Rye is as semi-autobiographical as his other novels except this one deals primarily with his coming-of-age. The horror to which I spoke of earlier in the paragraph is growing up feeling like the world has something against you, which is the general sense one gets reading this novel.