Review: Tonight, Again (For Adult Readers Only)
As many of you know Clive Barker’s work has always contained a high level of eroticism, and his most recent book Tonight Again: Tales of Love, Lust, and Everything in Between is his most sexually frank novel to date. This is a different side of Clive’s writing that I’ve never seen before. He’s very open about his feelings towards sex and I think this was a way for him to connect to his audience on a more personal level. This blows The Scarlet Gospels out of the water, and that’s saying something because I highly enjoyed that.
Before I get into my review I feel I must warn our listeners that this review will contain graphic and explicit sexual language. When you do a review about a book that deals with sex you can’t sugar coat it. This is adult site after all but I figured I’d at least give the average site viewer a fair warning.
From the very first story which is ironically the title of the book itself Tonight, Again, Barker lets the reader know right off the bat that these stories are going to delve deep into the most passionate, sadistic, and fetishistic pleasures that both men and women are secretly in love with. Some of the stories deal with pain and pleasure, a constant reoccurring motif from a lot Barker’s work. While others deal with personal obsessions of lust that go beyond the normal mundane view of how today’s society views sex. It’s great mix of erotic storytelling and social commentary.
Throughout the book Barker also sprinkles various erotic drawings for the reader as well. I think Clive really shines when he expresses himself sexually with his art. There’s a strange and abstract quality that Barker has infused in them that evokes power. My personal favorite is the drawing for the story The Multitude which has a man with a sizable erection that’s covered with insects. It’s both disturbing and sexually fascinating.
It’s obvious Barker had a wonderful time writing these stories. Sometimes he writes deeply about the subject matter (Aurora) or he can be pretty light and comedic at times (Two Views from a Window). Sure there are plenty of hard erect cocks, wet pussies, horny dogs (literally) and sadomasochistic pleasures to be had here but what’s most fascinating about it all isn’t the sexual material, but the underlying subtext of these short stories and the impact they have. Without it the book would just be a series of sleazy stories, but Barker respects his audience more than that. While he definitely wants you to get in touch with your kinky side by the end of it, he also wants you to recognize that it’s okay to have feelings like this.
I grew up and still live in the south (Western North Carolina) so having sexual urges that didn’t meet the standards of the normal everyday society were never to be uttered or thought. I never got the “talk” from my parents, mostly because I think they were afraid to. And when I finally did begin to experiment with women they were very pent up and frigid. So I felt like a freak by having these feelings. I know this doesn’t have anything to do with the book, but I think while you’re reading it you’ll find yourself reminiscing over your sexual history. I know I did and I really enjoyed that.
This review is far shorter than the ones I usually do, but I think talking about the stories to much takes away from the personal experience that Barker wants the individual to have with this book. And make no mistake Tonight, Again is a book that will talk to each reader differently. If you were disappointed by The Scarlet Gospels, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Tonight, Again. I think you’ll agree that Barker has written something that’s more close to his heart, and definitely something more that the reader can relate to.