Sacrament by Clive Barker – 1996
Clive Barker has probably suffered professionally because unfortunately he was writing at the same time as that other British horror guru, James Herbert… although I’m pretty sure he’s managed to get by, so I don’t know how much hardship he’s actually gone through. Having said that, Barker generally leans far more heavily towards the fantasy end of the spectrum so they perhaps split fewer fans than I think.
I had known about Clive Barker and his standing in the dark fiction genre for a long time before I got around to reading some of his stuff. Year later I’ve still only read a few of his novels – and I don’t remember too much about any of them, so maybe that tells you all you need to know right there – but Sacrament was definitely the easiest one to get through. It’s the most grounded, and therefore the most accessible to my delicate literary palate. It would be the one I’d recommend for those wanting a soft way in.
That’s not to say that Barker’s stories are not interesting or that the writing is of poor quality, but more that his fantastical style and content is not something that I’m typically drawn to. That’s all right; we all like different things.