Clive on Galilee

'Luman?' I murmured, and opened my eyes.
It wasn't Luman; it wasn't even a human touch, or anything resembling a human touch. It was some presence in the shadows; or the shadows themselves. They had swarmed upon me while my eyes were closed, and were now pressing close, their intimacy in no way threatening, but curiously tender. It was as if these roiling, senseless forms were concerned for my well-being, the way they brushed my nape, my brow, my lips. I stayed absolutely still, holding my breath, half expecting their mood to change and their consolations to turn into something crueller. But no; they simply waited, close upon me.
Relieved, I drew breath. And in the instant of drawing, knew I had again unwittingly done something of consequence.
On the intake I felt the marked air about my head rush toward my open lips and down my throat. I had no choice but to let it in. By the time I knew what was happening it was too late to resist. I was a vessel being filled. I could feel the marks on my tongue, against my tonsils, in my windpipe -
Nor did I want to choke them off, once I felt them inside me. At their entrance the pain in my side seemed instantly to recede, as did the throbbing in my head and eyes. The fear of a lonely demise here went out of my head and I was removed - in one breath - from despair to pleasurable ease.
What a maze of manipulations this chamber contained! First banality, then a blow, then this opiated bliss.

"I think Galilee is my masterpiece. It was a very sexy book to write and I was very much in love when I wrote it. I was completely swept up in the settings, the romantic elements and the characters... It is not full-blooded horror like Cabal or Hellraiser, it is mellower than that... I guess it's my own Romeo And Juliet..."

Lord Of Illusions

By Calum Waddell, SFX, No 194, May 2010

"It's a big novel...Sacrament sized novel...with the same kind of marriage of reality hinged with the supernatural that marks Sacrament, and it's set in America...and that's about all I can say about that right now. I will also say though that I'm doing a lot of research on the Civil War. Now whether or not that's connected to this novel or not...who knows...(said with a snicker). I'm actually quite excited about that. That's the book I'm doing right now."


By [ ], Lost Souls, Issue 5, October 1996

"Well, I wrote this entire book - what I do for drafts is I write a book and don't look at it; I mean, I handwrite everything, so I'll write, in this case maybe a first draft is 3,000 pages and I get to the end of it and I haven't looked at it at all, because if I look at it, I despair! So, I write the whole thing once, and then only when I've literally put the end on, do I go back and look at it again. Everybody has their different methods; that's the one that works for me because it protects me from my self-doubt. What happened here was I wrote the book, and realised that there was so much in the book; so many elements, so many characters, so many - it's set in Samarkand, which is way to the East, it's set in Hawaii, it' set in New York it's set in North Carolina, it's set in South Carolina, it's set in all kinds of places. There was just so much going on in the book that what I felt I needed to do was stick it together. And the way I decided to stick it together was to do something I'd never done before which was to write in the first-person; the first person not being Clive Barker in this case, the first person being on of the Barbarossa children - Maddox Barbarossa his name is. He's a cripple, he's a drunkard, he's a cocaine user, he's not a very nice man and he's wonderful to write - for all those reasons! I'd never done this before; taken on the persona of somebody else and said well, I'm going to live with this person for - I guess the last draft took me eight months or nine months - and allowed his personal doubts, his personal convictions and his personal anger to appear on the page. And one of the things it allowed me to do (and if you guys get to read the book, you might find this interesting) there are times in the book when Maddox says, 'I'm lost. I don't know where I am, I have so many characters here and I don't know where I am and I don't think any of this is ever going to stick together and I wish I'd never started.' That's exactly how I felt that day. And so, what I really tried to do is make Maddox's voice my voice, so the book is probably more of a confessional, if you will, than a first glance would show. It's a book which talks a lot about writing. But it's also a book, filled, I hope, with magic and family stuff - a lot of genealogy and a lot of the Civil War stuff which I found fascinating. I'm very proud of the book."

LA Times Festival of Books

Transcript of an interview by Martin Smith at the LA Times Festival of Books, 25 April 1998

"They're a pair of books called, The Galilee Novels. They are kind of a nineteenth-century romantic saga. Ironically, they came out of a desire for a family saga. I wanted to do an intergenerational book. The books focus on two families. One is human, the other, more than human, or "semidivine." The lead character, or the "anti-hero," is Galilee. Galilee is a child of the latter family. The books follow Galilee's travels through generations as an immortal navigating the seas, approaching land only to meet and make love to a number of women. As he moves from generation to generation, the women he encounters all have life-changing relationships with him.
"The human family's story is revealed in pieces through Amy, the heroin and most recent of Galilee's conquests. She tracks the two families' stories, putting the pieces together. The fun part for me was tracking Galilee's family back to it's semidivine origins, dating back to before the birth of Christ, then following it through significant times, such as the Civil War, to more modern times. It's an elaborate narrative. I think it's a very sexy book."

Pinhead and the Human Condition

By Dan Clarke, Inklings, Vol 3 No 4, Winter 1997-98

"I smoothed out the supernatural elements, mellowed out the horrors. In 'Galilee', I emphasised the humanity and reality. Interestingly in this book the strange elements, the fantastical elements, which are much subdued from earlier books, are more powerful because the context is more real."

Who Needs a Niche?

By Laura Dempsey, Dayton Daily News, [July] 1998

Clive Barker - Galilee

"Sacrament, by contrast [with Moby Dick], is a much more economical piece of writing - it's character-driven, it's very strongly character-driven, and so is Galilee, actually. I mean Galilee is about character and story and the idea of story itself. Packed with digressions of course - the Zelim section fom that book is, arguably - could be - lifted in its entirety...And that's what I did, that's how I put it into The Essential and I loved it like that. I agonised quite a bit about whether to keep that in the novel. I realised my form's my inspiration, my aesthetic. My inspirations are always non-classical, in the sense of if we're defining classical story structure as being something which is economical and rigorous"

Leitmotifs And Dark Beliefs

By Phil & Sarah Stokes, London, 24 September 1999 (note: full text here)

"First, the classical definition of romance is a passionate, loving relationship, which is at the heart of the book. Secondly, the 18th and 19th century definition of romance refers to a sweeping, fantastical adventure. And thirdly, there is the romance between the author and his subject. [Why would a prolific, successful writer, playwright and painter like Barker publicly disclose any vulnerability?] "Isn't that what artists are supposed to do? The point is to express what's going through your head. [The use of the 1st person] allows you to express feelings deep in your mind and heart.
"Rachel is a small-town girl whose life, almost by accident, becomes transformed. I understand where she's coming from - I'm a Liverpool lad who was extremely lucky in that my material found favour with readers. My life doesn't resemble anything I expected it to be."

Labor of Love

By Julia Kamysz, Gambit, New Orleans, [July] 1998

"[To call 'Galilee' a romance] That was my choice. I wanted to say upfront - don't expect a tale of Gothic horror. It's not what we have here. - And I thought the best way to do that was just to put that on the title page and say: 'Hey, look, throw away all your expectations and start all over again.'
[When HarperCollins balked] "If a publisher resists it, then it probably means I should be doing it. I don't think I would have written 'Galilee' if I didn't have a lover who is black. And I don't think I would have dared to write about that interaction, that public interaction, with David not in my life."

Love, Barker Style

By Randy Myers, (New York)? Times, 30 July 1998

"I needed an anchor to which all the many stories in 'Galilee' could be connected, Maddox provided the single voice that allowed me to journey from Samarkand to a high-society gala in New York and from Sandusky, Ohio, to Hawaii or Paris."

Throwing a Curve

By J.C.Patterson, Clarion Ledger, [July] 1998

"The 'fantastical' part: well, one of the families - the Barbarossas; Galilee's family - are vaguely, subtly supernatural. Nothing elaborate here, nothing baroque, just a little taste of the magical round the edges. And for me, part of the point about writing fantastical fiction, is being able to set up a reality that the audience observes and understands and senses is real - and the research in this book is this is the most heavily researched book I've done; the Jeffersonian stuff particularly, but also the Civil War stuff.
Clive Barker - Galilee - Russia, 2007 "It's a two-family saga set over many generations of American life, going back to the Civil War. And, actually, preceding the Civil War as it turns out. But it seems to go back as far as the Civil War. And the great house of the Barbarossas which is built in North Carolina was built by Jefferson - at least, that's the way the book pretends it. Galilee is the brooding, Byronic son...prince, perhaps we would say, of one of the families. And he sort of falls in love with the daughter of the other family; who are based, quite loosely, on the Kennedys. And so what we have is this sort of Romeo and Juliet story set against this battle between these two huge families. So that's the 'epic' part of it is simply the sheer scale of the narrative."

Transcript of interview on BBC Radio 5 Live, 9 November 1988

By Brian Hayes

"I've delivered half of, and I'm three weeks from delivering the second half of, a book called Galilee which is an 800, 900 page ... I don't know what it is... It's a novel. It's actually a kind of big romance in a way, set contemporarily. It's about two families, two vast dynasties. One of which is very human, one of which is slightly not. I've always wanted to do a family saga. There's something intrigued me about the idea of doing a book with complex, multi-generational stuff where I could track how psychologies changed. And I'm dealing with a family, a human family which comes to power during the Civil War and how they come to power.
"Being a visitor to this country, I wasn't taught the Civil War at all in school. Actually I was taught very little American history. So discovering the Civil War and finding it fascinated me has been one of the great revelations of this book. Finding all that neat stuff and going to the battlefields. I find historical sites, places where stuff happened. Actually that's pretty much around the world now isn't it, because stuff happened everywhere, but you know, notable stuff. I went to Bentonville, which is in North Carolina. Which is where really the last hurrah of the South happens in the very end of the Civil War in March and I guess the war ends in April. It was amazing. I'd been writing about it in a first draft and went to the site and sort of lay in the dugouts which are still there in the field. And the house which I had been writing about, turned into a field hospital, still stands. I find that stuff immensely moving. It just catches me up... The idea that all the statues of [General Ulysses S.] Grant that were put up after the war all faced north, just in case those bastards try it again! It fascinates me.
"So I have three more weeks and then I deliver this manuscript and then I guess it comes out in May. My editors in England called me this morning and said ... or my editor called me and said, "I really love this book." And God, that's such a relief because... nobody sees it. And, you know, I cry. Tears always spring to my eyes. Like this time I'm sure I've written it in Sanskrit and don't realise."

Burning Chrome Live

Clive Barker interviews William Gibson, 13 December 1997

"Maddox Barbarosa is the narrator of the book and Galilee's half brother. I chose for the first time in my novel writing career to write from the first person. I'd never had a narrator before. I feel it allows me, the author, to speak. I'm speaking in the persona of Maddox Barbarosa, of course, but it was just immense fun to be able to write in this persona and to almost make the book conversational. [There's] something stylistically very different about this book from other books. It's almost chatty.
"Maddox's voice is the voice of someone who might look at you bleerily across a bar at 11pm at night, pass you a whisky bottle and tell you a story."

Chats From The Past

Transcript of on-line Hollywood Spotlight appearance, 23 June 1998

"I deliver the first book the end of November. It's one of two books that are called Galilee. They are connected in the sense that they have many of the same characters and the narrative. It's not like the paperbacks of Imajica where the novel just sort of stopped and started in the second volume. This is very much two books in which I'm exploring a mythology. It's huge! So I am a social bore. I get up in the morning and I go to my desk and write, I paint in the evenings, I go to sleep. I get up in the morning and I go to my desk. I am completely obsessed with the Galilee books. When you have narrative structures as large as this, you hold inside of you a huge amount of information. And if I don't hold it all, I have a fear that I will not be fully aware of the way that one piece of the narrative affects another piece. When you are dealing with dozens and dozens of character , in this case two family blood lines, I feel that my head is stuffed with all of these facts of Galilee. When I get done, I let it go and it all comes pouring out my ears. It's all there on the page and all I can do is hope that I have done my best. Until that time, the information accrues and it becomes more complex. That's where I am right now. My head is filled!
Clive Barker - Galilee - Italy, 2000 "I expect two seven hundred page books, back to back. It's set in New York, Hawaii, Japan, Hollywood, Charleston and Bentonville North Carolina. It's also set in South Carolina and the Caspian Sea in central Asia. Galilee spans the times of long before human kind even raised their noses, the time of the Civil War and in contemporary times . It's incredibly complicated and complex structure. I hope it's very emotionally rich as well. I am about three quarters of the way through the final draft of the first book. The other drafts of the second book are already written but I still have the final draft to do of that book. It's exciting as hell. I am having a wonderful time. It's not an invented world book like Imajica or Weaveworld but it has elements of dark fantasy and magic as well. It's set in worlds that which require a lot of research. Some of it was very easy to research, like the Civil War stuff. But discovering how people fished on the shores of the Caspian Sea at the time that Christ was born is really hard to find out . It's sort of fun trying to search the libraries and bookshelves to find the little pieces of the facts that add up to an end result. It's like a jigsaw puzzle. What I did was write the whole thing first. There are things which are seeded in the first book which do not come into full bloom until the second book. I needed to know how those blossoms where going to look so I need to make sure the narrative elements were in place in the first book to resolve themselves in the second book. . I don't want there to be a big gap between books. It will be a huge reading experience. What I'm trying for is an epic reading experience of the scale I haven't attempted since Imajica. This will actually end up larger than Imajica. Just as Imajica moves through Dominions, Galilee moves through time. It's been a complicated writing experience but it's also been a very emotionally rewarding writing experience. What I tried to do is take what I learned about writing about the real world in Sacrament and marrying it to what I learned about writing a sort of poetic, almost religious fantasy in Imajica. I wanted those to be put side by side. Famous last word (laughs)..."


By [ ], Lost Souls, Issue 9, November 1997

"Galilee is definitely a departure from previous books, both stylistically -- it's written in the first person -- and in terms of its content. I've been very pleasantly entertained by the number of other authors that have been cited by reviewers as they've covered Galilee. A brief list of these authors include William Faulkner, Anne Rice, Jackie Collins and Barbara Cartland! Actually another important name on that list is the South American magic realist Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
"You're right that the theme of family is hugely important in Galilee. I think as I get older, I see more and more how I have been formed, both negatively and positively, by the dramas, conflicts, and the love of my family.
"I wanted to write about how I create. I wanted to tell the story from the point of view of the storyteller. Galilee contains innumerable confessions as to my state of mind while I write. Confident one moment, uneasy the next. Filled with visions on a Monday morning. Drained and frustrated by lunchtime."

People Online Appearance

Transcript of on-line appearance, 30 July 1998

Clive Barker - Galilee - Poland, 2003

"I feel like some books, when they leave my desk, I have had some anxiety about them. I feel really positive and great about Galilee. I feel as though it's ambitious in the story line and the structure. It's equal of what I had intended when I started. I always said that it was going to be a big old family saga, and that's what it's turned out to be. There's room for a subsequent book about these characters, but this book is complete and satisfying unto itself. That was important to me. I think they've done a great job on the cover. I feel good about the book. The next phase is to go out there and talk about it. This is a complete departure for me: I've never written a novel, I have short stories, in the first person. The invented first person of this book, Maddox, is somebody I fell in love with. I enjoyed writing in his voice. That is definitely something I would like to revisit just from the pleasure of being in his company again.
"There are times during writing a novel, a few months ago for example, when I feel 'I'm never going to find my way out of here. I got myself into this swamp and I'll just hide my bones somewhere in this book.' I always feel that and I sort of got used to it. The fact that I know that it's going to happen doesn't make it any more pleasurable. I really don't like that feeling and it always last for a month or two. Interestingly enough, in Galilee, I had the chance to speak from the writers point of view because Maddox is writing this book before our very eyes. I have sort of confessed, in Maddox's voice, where I was feeling these things. The reader, through this interview if you like, is aware of this and will be able to find in Galilee the place where Clive Barker felt lost. (Laughs). Which is sort of fun. It's an interesting process to use the voice of the novel as a way to speak about how you speak as a writer. It is a sustained act of faith in writing a large book. Faith in yourself, I suppose. Nobody can consistently sustain faith, at least I can't, for 14 months. Sometimes your faith falters and when it does you go 'Gulp. Help'.
"I have the first draft of both books. The difference between my drafts can be the difference between night and day. If you where to read the first draft of Galilee, there where three total, it resembles about twenty or maybe fifteen percent of the final draft. Characters change names, characters change motifs, locations change and complications change. It's a part of the writing process. Exploration."


By [ ], Lost Souls, Issue 10, June 1998

"I'd wanted for a long time to do a dynastic saga, something with a broad geographical and chronological scope that would go through generations and tell a pretty complex story, something that would straddle fantasy, horror, family saga and, in this case, also romance. It felt like it was time to do it...My confidence in my readership was such that I felt they would come with me on this adventure.
"It's a real departure for me. And in terms of the way the story is structured, it's very different. It's anything but a linear narrative. I did [a draft without the first-person narrator], and what I discovered was that there was simply so much going on in the book that there was no voice that coaxed you through, that made you feel comfortable with the complexities of the story. I thought, 'this time the audience is going to rebel. There's just too much going on.' I needed a central figure, a central viewpoint through which all this narrative could be funneled. I needed a single voice."

Lord of New Illusions

By W.C.Stroby, Fangoria, No 175, August 1998

"In a way, you have to go with your creative instincts and see where they lead you. The elements of fantasy in the novel are woven very tightly with the realism. So even though there are characters who live a lot longer than any human span, it's all described in a very rooted way. So it's not like Weaveworld, for instance, which is much more of a phantasmagoria, where characters who are like you and I are entering another world -- and which is completely unlike our own. Or like Imajica, which postulates an entirely different set of worlds. Galilee is happening in our world.
"The older I get, the more interested I am in the subtleties of how fantasy works. My commitment to fantastique is as immovable as ever; I believe that writers and artists and filmmakers of the fantastic have a chance to describe reality in a much more complex and interesting way than so-called realistic writers. For example, the power that dreams have in our lives. The way our lives are constantly affected by and nuanced by things which are not strictly real. Our fantastic lives - that is, our dream lives, the lives of our idling minds - they change, enrich, and develop the so-called realistic part of our lives, and make us much more interesting and complex human beings.
"So when I write a book like Galilee, where the fantasy elements are tied incredibly closely to the realism, I find myself studying how I can put just a half-twist on reality - and suddenly something very strange is happening. It's not the wild fantasy of Imajica or the wild fantasy of Weaveworld. But sometimes just a little half-twist on something can be every bit as potent as something 'wild'. My guess is that with Galilee, the audience is going to get a different kind of pleasure, versus what they would get in my previous works. For one thing, it's much easier to relate to some of the chief characters, because there they are, living in our world. And when strange things happen -- and a lot of still very bizarre things happen in the book! - hopefully the journeys taken by these characters will still be all that much more accessible."

Clive Barker: Master of the Fantastique

By Stanley Wiater, 1999

...other comments

'Whoever you are...' Rachel said softly, '...come and show me your face.'
The man stepped into the doorway. She couldn't see his face, as she'd requested, but she could see his form, and it was, as she'd guessed, a fine form: tall and broad.
'Who are you?' she said. Then, when he didn't reply: 'Did you make the fire?'
'Yes.' His voice was soft.
'The smoke...'
'...followed you.'
'I asked it to.'
'You asked the smoke,' she said. It made an unlikely kind of sense to her.
'I wanted it to introduce you to me,' he said. There was a hint of humour in his voice, as though he only half-expected her to believe this. But the half that did believe it believed it utterly.

"Though its ghoul and demon quotient is comparatively low, this lavishly campy creeper has a legitimate claim to the title of Wierdest Book Yet by the accomplished author of such genre classics as The Books of Blood and The Damnation Game. John O'Hara, William Faulkner and Barbara Cartland might have spent a lost weekend collaborating on this feverish tale."

Galilee Review

By [ ], Kirkus Reviews, 15th May 1998

"While this book is closer to Barker's supernatural roots than was Sacrament, it is also a meandering, self-indulgent novel that comes to no conclusions and never has a clear conflict."

Galilee Review

By Jodi L. Israel, Library Journal, [ ]

"The novel's scale is smaller than that of previous Barker efforts: missing are the titanic battles of form vs. chaos, good vs. evil, the riot of wonders and terrors. But it's less cluttered too, despite abundant inspiration and invention and satisfying smatterings of Barker-brand sex, scatology and violence. Above all, there is a new richness of character, of its warpings and transfigurations by hatred and love, blood legacy and death."

Galilee Review

By [ ], Publisher's Weekly, [ ]

Galilee bibliography...

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