I wish Abarat had been available when I was moping around through my 13th year. I don’t know if Clive Barker intended this to be a girl-empowerment tome, but to adult me, Candy’s journey is Any Girl’s Story. Imagine a teenager wandering out of a nowhere town to be alone in a great big grass prairie. Imagine the strangeness of the day, and the deluge that catches her. I can because I wandered for miles outside of Wellsville, every day, when I was her age. What else could a girl do when she was caught in limbo?
The teaser on the back plate suggests this:
A journey beyond imagination is about to unfold…
It begins in the most boring place in the world: Chickentown, U.S.A. There lives Candy Quackenbush, her heart bursting for some clue as to what her future might hold.
When the answer comes, it’s not one she expects.
Welcome to the Abarat.
This isn’t a simple fantasy novel, with good and evil clearly delineated. Candy is adrift, literally, in a menacing world where time cannot be depended on, and kindness remains elusive. An object of obsessive desire, she transcends to frame her own passions in the end.