Chiliad: A Meditation

by Clive Barker

Originally published in ’97 as part of Douglas Winter’s Millennium, the stories ‘Men and Sin’ and ‘A Moment at the River’s Heart’ make up this release.

Two men, 1,000 years apart, attempt to locate and exact revenge upon their spouses’ murderers.

That is the plot in its oversimplified form, but laid over this structure are the morality questions causing the struggle in the end. The author has not led us to some kind of inevitable conclusion but rather finished his tale and left us to figure out the answers as to what it means. The stories are compact enough it’s difficult to discuss much without spoilers, but suffice to say it’s undoubtedly Barker and it has a good helping of his distinctive style, pulling no punches with his violence in its grittiness. There’s no bow tie around the story, though, and the reader is respected enough to draw his or her own conclusions.

A thought provoking read of chicken and eggs, grief and blame, darkness and death, but one where ultimately the reader provides the final answers.

4+ stars

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