I hadn’t read any Clive Barker previous to The Thief of Always. Sure, I’d seen films based on his works and knew of his work and was around while friends talked about his work, but I hadn’t experienced it myself.
It was the summary on the back of the book that drew me. That, and the absolutely fantastic title. (The Thief of Always remains one of my favorite book titles.) I read the book in short order, which is unusual given my normally turtle-like reading pace. Barker’s fluid narrative sucked me in and kept me going, each chapter punctuated by one of his scratchy and horrific illustrations. The book looks as good as it reads.
The story is about a very bored boy who is dreading away the day when his prayers are seemingly answered by a wide-grinned man in an odd suit. The man sweeps the boy away to a very unusual house. A house where it is summer every afternoon, Trick-or-Treating every evening, and Christmas every night. The boy is enthralled, having the time of his life, but he is oblivious to the true nature of the house. As the facade begins to peel away like aged paint on a rotten cupboard, the boy begins to see there is more to this house than fun and constant celebration.
I won’t say anymore about this book. If you haven’t read it, I urge you to do so. It’s not only primo fodder for a Little Fears Nightmare Edition session but an excellent fable.
The Thief of Always pops up every once in a while as a book they’re making into a movie. They haven’t yet, to my knowledge, but I do think it would translate well to the screen.