Mr. B Gone is one of the more unique horror novels I have read in quite some time. You’ve read horror, no doubt, focusing on a variety of protagonists. There are hapless everyday people who accidentally stumble into the terrible unknown. Then there are specialists, who walk where most dare not trod, facing down unspeakable horrors. This take takes a different approach. Like a certain Anne Rice novel, Clive Barker takes a page from the Rolling Stones and invites his readers to have a little sympathy for the devil. I personally devoured this page-turner in under a week.
Title: Mr. B Gone
Genre: horror, suspense, humor
Author: Clive Barker
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2007
When we meet him, Jakabok is an unimpressive minor devil who only wants one thing: to end it all. Life is very dull when your immortal soul is trapped in a book. That’s where you come in.
In Mr. B. Gone, the narrator speaks directly to the reader, alternating between petitioning for his swift and merciful end and his truly tragic life story. His terrible childhood in hell has nothing on his trials in medieval Europe. Torments, battles, narrow escapes, and magic mar his first day in the mortal realm, and it only worsens from there. Despite his best efforts, Jakabok seems almost fated to stumble into a critical role in human history… much to our detriment.
You’ll Love This If…
If you have a dark and cynical sense of humor, this book speaks your language. The narrator’s belligerent yet charming conversational tone is a masterclass in writing with a strong, distinct voice. Barker sells out completely to the schtick. I could almost picture the reptilian devil sitting cross-legged across from me in a smoking jacket, wistfully recounting his life’s story.
From the iconic first line to the end, Mr. B. Gone is a fast-paced adventure/memoir that demands to be read. Well, sometimes. At others, the narrator literally demands that you stop reading. You’ll have to pick it up for yourself to see if you believe his reasons.
Where Can You Learn More?
Check out Clive Barker’s profile and bibliography on Goodreads, or keep up the latest on his blog.
As always, happy reading, and happy writing.
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