11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Clunky, overlong but ultimately powerful,
This review is from: Duma Key: A Novel (Mass Market Paperback)It must be nice to be Stephen King. Everything you write is automatically a bestseller -- no editor or publisher will ever tell you "no." But the flipside of such omnipotence is also evident in this book.
A building contractor from Minnesota has an awful accident in which he loses one arm and also suffers brain injuries from which he slowly recovers. His wife leaves him so he moves to an almost deserted Florida key and begins painting strange works of genius. It turns out that evil has awakened in the swampy land and is giving his art its weird power.
I hadn't picked up a King book for some years and horror is not generally my thing. But I had time to spare on a trip and fancied a good old-fashioned literary wallow.
King's strength remains his ability to conjure a scary tale but there are also weaknesses here, some of which could have been fixed with good editing. The book is very looooooong. I know some King fans love and demand Dickensian length but the story did not support it.
The characters are weak. One is described merely through tiresome use of Spanish. Another fairly major character has no character at all. The wife is a big nothing. I did not get emotionally involved with these people. When people I was supposed to care about died, I didn't care.
King has a way of telegraphing plot developments. Three or four times, he writes, "I never saw her again," or "That was our final conversation." It's an old trick that wears out.
Having said all this, King remains unmatched at describing pure evil and that's what accounts for his success I suppose. He knows what pain feels like and transmits that too.
I'm glad people read his stuff because all reading is good and they could do much worse. They could also do a little better -- and so could he.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 2, 2009 7:15:13 AM PST
Karen Joan says:
I just read a glowing review of this novel. Thanks for the contrasting opinion. Well done.
Posted on Jul 13, 2009 6:27:29 PM PDT
Beautifully written review which balances the strength and the weaknesses in this book. Wish I wrote as succinctly and well as you.
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2009 2:39:40 PM PDT
Alan A. Elsner says:
You are very kind...
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