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Galilee by Clive Barker
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Galilee (1998)

by Clive Barker

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Galilee by Clive Barker was on the 75 Halloween thread, and, it takes the narrator 397 pages to say:

"Ah well; this was never fated to be a book distinguished by its tidiness. I'm sure it's going to get a damn sight less orderly before we get to the final pages."

Really? At nearly 600 pages, this "romance" from the writer of some well received horror fiction could have used an editor with a machete. There's a very basic storyline here that is amended, extended, qualified, and carried on so long that what should have been a fast neat Hatfield-McCoy family feud is so bloated that it seems interminable. For the interim, I'm back to a much shorter and cleaner Stephen King. ( )
  Prop2gether | Nov 10, 2010 |
With [Galilee], Clive Barker only really dips his toe in the water. But given the typical grand scale of his stories, the result is still a rich and interesting read.

The intertwined fate of two powerful and strange families, the Barbarossas and the Gearys, . From divine or supernatural stock, the Barbarossas telekinetically project their spirits around the world and live for centuries without aging. Even with their superhuman nature, their lives gravitate to the pleasure of the human senses. The Gearys, on the other hand, are more squarely focused on wealth and the power it buys. In the middle, sailing the seas of the world in self-imposed exile is the central character and namesake of the novel, Galilee. Though a Barbarossa, Galilee has somehow crossed over into the Geary world and seems to have an unusual connection with the Geary women. The mystery of just how the families’ destinies intersected fuels the book, carrying the narrative from mythic times and places to the Civil War South to the modern-day high-rises of New York City.

Barker never settles for simple. His stories always immerse the reader in strange, mystical worlds and magical, eccentric characters. [Galilee] follows that pattern but doesn’t completely deliver. The story is epic and the characters complex but Barker’s choice of narrator cripples the experience. Barker uses Maddox, one of the Barbarossa children, as the narrator. Granted a mysterious omniscient view of the family’s history, Maddox begins to write a family history. But Maddox’ view of the individual lives and exploits of the family read cold and incomplete. The story, if told in a more personal way through the major players, would have rendered a deeper connection to the reader, and certainly would have lessened the frustration and feeling of incompleteness in the ending. Some of the most interesting aspects of the tale are held in reserve to falsely build anticipation. The payoff is anti-climatic in the telling because of the faux mystery.

[Galilee] would have been a better set of books, with Barker taking the time to explore the entire cast of characters. What saves the book is Barker’s mastery of the fantastic and mystical.

3 ½ bones!!! ( )
  blackdogbooks | Oct 16, 2010 |
This book certainly started out with a good and interesting idea about a supernatural family tied to an immensely rich and powerful one, but it wasn't executed well. The characters were very one-dimensional, defined by two or three key traits rather than actual personalities. One of the main characters, Rachel Pallenberg, was especially flat: she had basically no personality, but just seemed to adjust to add the maximum drama to any situation and her romance with Galilee was completely fake, Galilee himself a whiny and self-important character at most points. The actual stories of the other characters in the book were quite interesting (most in the past) and the mysteries of Cesaria (I love the quill-pigs, by the way) and Nicodemus were always intriguing, but the "romance" lost its appeal with the mortals existing in the present. I really wish this book had focused more on Maddox, the writer of the book, and his siblings. It would have been a lot more interesting. ( )
  samlives2 | Feb 28, 2010 |
In Galilee, Clive Barker attempted to mix a passionate love story with an epic adventure and a dash of the supernatural. Unfortunately, his success was only minimal. The characters were flat and unable to entice much attachment from the reader. The love between Rachel and Galilee seemed forced-the effect of intense lust rather than passion and adoration. The epic story of the two families was interesting, though some loose threads were left in a faintly masked opening for a sequel. However, above all else, the supernatural dash was the most disappointing. Throughout the book, the writer claims that he wishes he could share knowledge with us so frightening, ground-shattering, and sky-collapsing that hearing just the most superficial details would drive us instantaneously mad. So he doesn't share any of it. Come on! Titillate my sanity just a little! ( )
  The_Hibernator | Dec 1, 2008 |
I ended up liking this book although throughout the book I had my doubts. I'm getting used to Clive Barker's writing style I guess. It felt like he would set himself in one of the character's storylines so well and we'd be off and running and I couldn't stop reading. And then he would cut into it with another seemingly endless narrative that slowed it down and frustrated me to almost skipping paragraphs, wanting to get back to the story. The end did tie up loose ends, but it wasn't the ending that he aluded to throughout the book. So it was a little bit of a let down in a way. But like I said, I did like it and wanted to have more of the storytelling. I will read more Clive Barker books - I'm not turned off, but I just wish he had an editor that might cut through some of the rhetoric. ( )
  whitetara | Nov 21, 2007 |
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Pour Emilian David Armstrong
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Sur l'insistance de ma belle-mère, Cesaria Barbarossa, la maison dans laquelle je me trouve présentement fut construite face au sud-est.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061092002, Mass Market Paperback)

Over many years and many books, Clive Barker has earned a reputation as the thinking person's horror writer. His novels have mixed fantasy, psychology, and sheer creepiness in almost equal quantities, and while the gore quotient remains relatively low, the tension always runs high. In Galilee, however, Barker soft-pedals the ghoulish in favor of the gothic. His novel (or as the author would have it, "romance") tells the tale of two warring families caught up in a disastrous web of corruption, illicit sexuality, and star-crossed love, with a soupçon of the supernatural thrown in as well. On one side are the wealthy Gearys--a fictional stand-in for the Kennedys--and on the other are the Barbarossas, a mysterious black clan that has been around since the time (quite literally) of Adam. Galilee chronicles the twisted course of this centuries-old family feud, which centers around the magical Barbarossa matriarch Cesaria and her son Galilee. Indeed, it's the latter figure--one part Heathcliff to one part Christ--whose relationship with the Geary women sets a match to the entire powder keg of hostility and resentment. Mixing standard clichés of romance with his own peculiarly deep-fried version of the Southern gothic, Baker has come up with an intelligent and shamelessly amusing potboiler.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:15 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A feud between two Southern families--the Gearys and the Barbarossas--is given a new twist when a Geary woman falls under the spell of a Barbarossa's sexual magnetism. A violent tale of greed and love.

» see all 3 descriptions

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