TITLE: Mister B. Gone
AUTHOR: Clive Barker
PUBLICATION: 2007 by HarperCollins
Mister B. was a lowly demon from the Ninth Circle of Hell until he was fished out of the World Below. Hear his words and maybe you’ll give him the relief he begs for, even the great Secret.
WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT IT . . .
I’ve had such a fondness for Clive Barker since reading the copy of Weaveworld that I discovered in the stall of used books selling in the middle of the mall during my teenage years. I did check out Mister B. Gone back when it was first released, but due to silly circumstances that put me out of the mood to read it, it was returned unfinished.
This novel is written as a confession of vile deeds done in the name of survival and fun. The reader gets to find out all about the Ninth Circle of the World Below as resembling some kind of ghetto district of the inner city. Barker has given his main character the backstory of a tragic protagonist instead of just going by the assumption that he’s a demon and therefor evil to the core. Although we don’t actually get any in depth account of vile deeds except for patricide. Time and time again the reader is informed of all the horrible things our demon narrator has done and would do at the slightest chance, but nothing is given concrete except vague allusions.
Our narrator seems… complicated. On the one hand while traveling across the land with his companion they seek to punish priests who sin the very vices that are preached against, but only a couple of pages later he is bathing in the blood of infants. Mister B. is a demon after all. Readers might find themselves confused about whether to root for him, or revile him at the brief glimpses. I find him an object of pity if anything.
The story itself is really rather dull. You can see Barker’s skill with words and crafting prose, but overall Mister B. Gone is nothing to get excited over to be honest. Even though it does have interesting lines such as the following:
Everyone loves a measure of fright in their stories; a revulsion that makes the release into love all the sweeter.
Would I recommend it? No, I can’t. The only reason you’d want to read it was if you were bound and determined to read Clive Barker’s entire body of work (which I probably will do at some point). There was some fine writing, but it felt unfulfilled.