Monday, July 19, 2010

King, Stephen (The Dead Zone)

I'd only read one thing by Stephen King before, a short story about people stuck on a raft in a lake (called "The Raft," natch). It was hands-down the scariest thing I'd ever read and I don't think I slept that night at all. Likely, that kept me away from King for a couple decades, but recently after a particularly stimulating off-topic book club discussion, I got re-interested in his oeuvre. Hubby was also interested in trying another book of his, so for multiple reasons (which I won't bore you with here) we chose this one.

I'm guessing it is not representative of his work. It's possible he was already in the throes of severe addiction at this point (he wrote it in 1979, he quit in 1987). I wonder if this is the case because the story, while not wayward, tends towards off-topic description on a regular basis. OK, the political discussion *is* actually on topic since it takes up a huge portion of the latter part of the story. My thinking as I was reading it, though, was "why not just write an essay about politics?" Why try and merge venting about politics with the forward progress of the plot? It stuck in my craw and wouldn't leave.

Also, this is not horror. Not by any stretch of the imagination. There are some bits that make you go "ew" and other bits that make you go "ugh" but that's about it. I was actually disappointed. Although King is a good enough novelist that he can create a page-turner out of almost nothing. He excels at characterization, and he makes us care about the characters he's created. That, if nothing else, is a reason to read his books, I would say.

I'm guessing I ought to read "The Stand" next, as that seems to be a fave. Other recommendations?

No comments: