The seasons long for each other, like men and women, in order that they may be cured of their excesses.

Easily one of my favorite stories, this novella by Clive Barker was first published in the third volume of the NIGHT VISIONS anthology series. Used as the basis for, and after the success of, fan-favorite HELLRAISER, the story was published as a stand-alone title by HarperCollins in 1988.

A serrated story of broken love and hate-driven lust, it differs in a few notable ways from the film, but lovers of Barker’s early visceral works will certainly appreciate it. The flow of the prose is exquisite, and Barker truly knows how to pack the punch of highly-unsettling gore and deep, longing romance in the same shuddered breath.

SIGHTS

The cover shows a beautiful illustration of a meditating Frank Cotton surrounded by demon beauties; turned over, it becomes the later version of frank; the tortured, skinned man.

SMELLS

Fresh pencils; empty and freshly-scrubbed school hallways. Just-cut lawn right before a heavy nor’easter. Your step-grandparents’ basement, with all their old, wooden toys.

THE HELLBOUND HEART, CLIVE BARKER, HARPERCOLLINS 1988

WHAT’S IN YOUR POCKET?

Paperback pocketbooks are lost treasures of a bygone era. At the height of their popularity, they were used as a way to inexpensively get normal-length and longer format novels out to the masses. Once considered disposable – the term “pulp” comes from the low-quality paper they were printed on, prone to discoloring and literally recycled into pulp if the books didn’t sell, less the cover – they’re now hailed as collector’s items; and rightfully so.