Book Review – The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker

Hellbound Heart Review Title Card
Hellbound Heart Review Title Card

This is a classic tale that has had many, many reviews extolling and rightfully so, just how brilliant it is. So rather than rehash what has already been said so well including the plot, I’ll just add my thoughts on this reread.

 I have read this short novella untold times over the last twenty years give or take, and every time, even knowing the plot it still draws me in so I am on tenterhooks throughout: will Julia be successful in her scheme, Kirsty face her fears, Rory continue to feign obliviousness and Frank succeed?

 I know the answers to these dilemmas and more, but I still care, I am swept up each time rooting for the good guys and pitying the bad guys. Surprisingly it has always been pity and not anger or shock or horror for these characters because beneath the veneer of everyman and the humdrum lifestyle, the desperate yearning each is afflicted with is exposed. Knowing that seeing that – Clive Barker is such a visual writer – I couldn’t be horrified, hence the commiseration. 

 This time it left me with the thought, which is a quote by several others including Emily Dickinson ‘ The Heart wants what it wants – or else it does not care’. All were blinked, focused on their own wants and desires in the hope it would coincide with the object of their affection.  

Was their hope fulfilled? Have a read and find out for yourself, you won’t regret it

5 stars – it was amazing

Bonus Content – Music


When I’m reading I occasionally have the radio or a playlist on, however, it does vary depending on mood and the book itself. This afternoon, I’d finished a session of Nordic Walking – the details of which is for another blog post, if I remember. Came home and headed straight for the shower.

What to listen to was my prime thought. My music taste is quite wide, I can go from death metal to worship songs and most things in between.

I’d spent the previous hour whilst striding away, listening to a loop of my top three songs for September 2019:

  • Earfquake by Tyler the Creator – Watch the video here on YouTube, it’s too random
  • Racks (Audio) by H.E.R. ft. YBN Cordae – Listen to the audio here on YouTube (I’ve never seen the video myself)
  • Coming Home by Swindle ft Kojey Radical – Listen to the audio here on YouTube (Another song I like which I’ve never seen the video for)

Anyway, I digress, and so to get back to the process of elimination (of what music I would enjoy in the shower).

I quickly discounted October’s favourites, easily done as I hadn’t identified any songs yet for the month that would necessitate repeat listening. Which I’m ok with, as its early days (2nd October).

Realising that the music decision stage was fastly outweighing the actual activity, I defaulted to September’s stand out album: Slipknot’s latest We Are Not Your Kind

Well, I finally got to the point before I almost forgot it! But I’m not going to apologise for the rambling as it’s in the blog title and therefore you were warned. 

However, to conclude this review. Post shower, my estimation deterimined that I had enough time in which to blitz one of my Horror Week selection.

Whilst reading The Hellbound Heart one song kept on flitting through my mind. Maybe it’s the melody or juxtaposition between quiet and loud, rather than the lyrics but it does seem perfect for this book.

Take a listen to A Liar’s Funeral here on YouTube, (it is audio not a video and see if you agree).

And to recap, for these reasons and more – the vision, the words and the music, is why I own this book and why it’s one of my favourite rereads.

An abbreviated version of this book review was shared on Goodreads

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Engrossed Reader

Reading whenever she can, often to the detriment of sleep. Enjoying most genres with preference for ebooks and audiobooks, mainly for convenience.

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1 Response

  1. 14th December 2019

    […] already referenced We Are Not Your Kind in an earlier post as my album of the month, and how I’d been playing them on repeat. That hasn’t changed […]