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The Hellbound Heart: A Novel by Clive Barker

The Hellbound Heart: A Novel (original 1986; edition 2007)

by Clive Barker

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1,491334,980 (3.8)27
Title:The Hellbound Heart: A Novel
Authors:Clive Barker
Info:Harper Perennial (2007), Paperback, 164 pages
Collections:Already read
Tags:horror, fiction

Work details

The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker (1986)

  1. 10
    Cabal by Clive Barker (Anonymous user)
  2. 10
    Cabal by Clive Barker (Hanike)
    Hanike: One of the best books by Clive Barker and has the delightful touch of Hellraiser's Cenobites this time in the shape of demons.
  3. 00
    Books of Blood 1-3 by Clive Barker (Hanike)
    Hanike: You simply can't read Clive Barker without going through his Books of Blood: they are the synthesis of this world covered on blood, tragedy & darkness he showed us!

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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
This is a novella which I really enjoyed. If you're looking for something in horror and want to cut your teeth on Clive Barker's writing, this is a good plce to begin. The work is more than a little uneven, rough in places; but it also shines at times. At the "heart" of the story rests a completely sick, twisted set of relationships and despite this the book works. I finished it in two sittings and was completely enraptured throughout. Although you can see the end coming, I still wanted to get to it and I wasn't the least bit disappointed. I might even goes as far as to suggest that this story be set beside classics like "The Monkey's Paw" and "The Tell-Tale Heart". ( )
  RalphLagana | Jan 23, 2016 |
I've been a fan of the original Hellraiser film for years (the sequels being very hit or miss, mostly miss once you hit the third one) and have always wanted to read the original story it was based on. So, I finally got around to reading it, after owning a copy for a number of years but always putting it off for one reason or another.

It was nice to see how faithful the film stayed to the source material, outside of making Kirsty Julia's stepdaughter instead of potential rival for Rory (Larry in the film, who becomes Kirsty's father, which makes Frank's "Come to Daddy" line all the more disturbing now that I think about it). Of course, considering how nebulous Kirsty's relationship with Rory is in the book (she's "a friend" who is apparently secretly in love with him, but it's never clear how he feels about her since he seems to keep her close), this change makes sense.

One thing that the novel does, as well as the first film, that the rest of the franchise doesn't, is downplay the Cenobites. They aren't the main focus of the story, which I enjoyed. They are more of a literal Deus ex Machina that propels the story of Frank and his desire for the ultimate pleasure. Frank and Julia are the important elements of "The Hellbound Heart," seeing to what ends these two will go for what they want. And that is what makes this such an interesting read. ( )
  regularguy5mb | Dec 12, 2015 |
"The Hellbound Heart" has a lot of surprises in it. The first, of course, is that everyone's favorite cenboite, Pinhead, makes only a cameo appearance. I'd been warned about that one, but it also surprised me how much like a regular literary novel "The Hellbound Heart"can sometimes seem. Sure, it involves bloodthirsty unspeakable ghouls from another dimension who have disfigured their bodies beyond recognition, but it's also the story of an upwardly mobile Thatcher-era British couple called Rory and Kristy whose marriage is falling apart. It's kind of surprising how much of "The Hellbound Heart" doesn't involve people getting torn limb from limb. "The Hellbound Heart" could even be mistaken for a stealth critique of boring yuppiedom. Yes, Frank's a monster, but it's clear that he's got much more ambition than his brother, and Barker seems to kind of admire him for it. To be perfectly honest, Barker's not at his best in that part of the book: the characters aren't particularly memorable, and there's a lot of stock language to be found in the book's quieter scenes. The horror stuff is, of course, a fair sight better. I'm a sucker for art about bodily difference and transformation, and that seems to be one of Clive's major obsessions, too. The cenobites aren't, after all, anyone's victims, and they weren't born looking that way. They're the weird products of their own out-of-control desires. In fact, despite the fact that the Hellraiser movies are notorious for their references to S and M and fetish sex, there's less of that sort of thing here than I expected: the cenobites aren't much for talking, and they keep things pretty understated when referring to the bizarre pleasures that they've experienced. It is, in a way, wonderfully British of them. Lastly, I also wondered how much "The Hellbound Heart" prefigured the modern vogue for all things steampunk: Barker's "hooks, chains and pulleys" fixation seems more industrial age than Gothic, and we meet a cenobite called "The Engineer" as the book closes. I'm not really a horror fan, and don't know if I'll read any more of the Hellraiser books, but this brief, gory little novella was still worth my time. ( )
  TheAmpersand | Nov 20, 2015 |
I found myself surprised how true-to-the-story the film turned out to be. It also made me wish I’d read the book first, I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more.

I still don’t understand Kristy’s relationship to Rory, and it’s been like 30 years. ( )
  sixteendays | Oct 21, 2015 |
Fascinating, frightening, enjoyable, and much better than the movie! One of the greatest things about Clive Barker is that no two books of his read the same, they are all truly original and so different. If not for the advertised fact, I wouldn't know that the same man who wrote The Abarat wrote Mister B. Gone and any of his others. It seems the main thing they have in common is their fantastic consistent quality. I definitely count him among my favorite authors. ( )
  bgnbrooks | Oct 8, 2015 |
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« Je veux parler au spectre de quelque antique amant
Qui mourut avant que le dieu Amour ne fût né. »

JOHN DONNE, « Divinité de l'amour »
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-Sabéis lo que he soñado -dijo Frank-. Podéis proporcionar el placer.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061002828, Mass Market Paperback)

Clive Barker is widely acknowledged as the master of nerve-shattering horror. The Hellbound Heart is one of his best, one of the most dead-frightening stories you are likely to ever read, a story of the human heart and all the great terrors and ecstasies within.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:37 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Originally published in an anthology collection called "Night Visions", this long novella was the basis for the film "Hellraiser". Considered by many Barker fans to be among his best, the story introduces Pinhead, the leader of a group of hell-spawned demons called Cenobites, as he (it?) tries to secure the soul of Uncle Frank, who foolishly thought that he could arrive at the gateway to ultimate pleasure without traveling a path of grisly torture and pain.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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