|| Duma Key
Other Books Read By This Author (20)
- Bazaar of Bad Dreams
- Blockade Billy
- The Colorado Kid
- Doctor Sleep
- End of Watch
- Finders Keepers
- Full Dark, No Stars
- Just After Sunset
- Lisey's Story
- Mr. Mercedes
- On Writing
- The Outsider
- Under the Dome
- The Wind Through the Keyhole
|11.20.09|| I've never read any of the classic russian authors that a lot of people talk about, but from what I've heard about them (how they are long and the first halves are a real chore to get through but then they turn and really grip you and end up being very satisfying reads) seems very apt to this one.
My memories of Lisey's Story are that it was long and that it got a little better as it went on but not much and mostly it was just King trying to prove that he can write female characters. The length, along with publisher's new idea of printing new mass market paperbacks in a taller dimension and a premise which did not immediately grab me, immediately lumped that book with this one... i.e. something that would be more of a completionist's chore than an active enjoyment. And for the first 400 or so pages that's just what it was. Certain areas of King's style have now grown pretty old with me after 40-however-many books. His little new words or his repeating interior
or his joyful diction of soulful old black ladies are all things that I'm kind of over. And there's plenty of that here all throughout, but there are also the King mainstays that I suspect everyone still gets a kick out of: conversationally light prose, ease and depth of character, and most of all the ability to make a character doing anything - no matter how banal - interesting. Then there's also the horror, which I think stopped scaring me a long time ago but now just impresses me with his ideas and executions.
So, yeah... there's really no horror in the first two thirds of this book. If the last 200 pages had been chopped off, this would've been a story about a guy who gets in an accident and discovers that he has talent as an artist. Which would've been fine I guess if not a bit light on tension. And that's how the first two thirds reads... At first I resisted a bit because nothing (at all) was happening, but then I fell in line and started enjoying the success this guy was having with his awakening talent. of course there were obtuse intimations of something supernatural going on but... whatever. It's all wrapped up in the artist's mystique, right?
But then it was like King literally opened the flood gates. "Thanks for slogging through 600 pages, Constant Reader, I will now reward you with 200 page-turners to burn your fingers as you stay up way too late trying to sprint to my afterthoughts after the last chapter." I know there's some definite intention with the pacing of the book now so it's hard for me to go on about my frustrations with the slow start.
With both this book and Lisey's Story (I also see that his new one is 1,000 pages), I think King is now in a mode where he sits down every day and writes and writes and writes until it's good. If it's not good now, add another hundred pages and check again. That's not necessarily a bad thing... it just makes for a bit more of an investment and a bit more trust put in with King at the start of each of his books.
Honestly, I was starting to think King was hitting another slump post Dark Tower as he did in the late 80s/early 90s but this book has redeemed him for me and now I'm excited to read his short story collection and eventually Under The Dome (when it comes out in paperback... can't be lugging that brick with me to work every day).|