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Duma Key: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – October 21, 2008
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Duma Key: Where It All Began
A Note from Chuck Verrill, the Longtime Editor of Stephen King
In the spring of 2006 Stephen King told me he was working on a Florida story that was beginning to grow on him. "I'm thinking of calling it Duma Key," he offered. I liked the sound of that--the title was like a drumbeat of dread. "You know how Lisey's Story is a story about marriage?" he said. "Sure," I answered. The novel hadn't yet been published, but I knew its story well: Lisey and Scott Landon--what a marriage that was. Then he dropped the other shoe: "I think Duma Key might be my story of divorce."
Pretty soon I received a slim package from a familiar address in Maine. Inside was a short story titled "Memory"--a story of divorce, all right, but set in Minnesota. By the end of the summer, when Tin House published "Memory," Stephen had completed a draft of Duma Key, and it became clear to me how "Memory" and its narrator, Edgar Freemantle, had moved from Minnesota to Florida, and how a story of divorce had turned into something more complex, more strange, and much more terrifying.
If you read the following two texts side by side--"Memory" as it was published by Tin House and the opening chapter of Duma Key in final form--you'll see a writer at work, and how stories can both contract and expand. Whether Duma Key is an expansion of "Memory" or "Memory" a contraction of Duma Key, I can't really say. Can you?
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Beyond the colorful setting, "Duma Key" combines the concepts of bodies gone bad and creativity gone wild -- typical King material -- with the everlasting powers of friendship and love. It's a great beach read, an outstanding character study, a terrific horror story and, eventually, an uplifting tale of moral redemption.
Obviously that's plenty of raw material, but King masters it all, with a writing style that's better than ever. As always his imagery is simply stated yet memorably vivid -- waves, for example, crash on the beach with the sound of "the breath of some large sleeping creature" -- and even the most basic sentences and paragraphs have a perfect mix of energy, grace and wit. This time, however, King really takes his time, with a slow pace that allows for plenty of character development and story detail.Read more ›
In Duma Key, Edgar Freemantle had proven that the American dream works. As a building contractor in the Twin Cities in Minnesota, he made a lot of money and received plenty of acclaim. He and his beloved wife Pam were worth at least forty million by the time he turned 50. They had two children. The end of his "Golden Age" began when he experienced a basic law of physics that being a pickup truck has no chance against a twelve-story crane.
Edgar came out of that crash with a cracked skull, and a fractured left side with broken ribs, a broken right hip and loss vision and his right arm was lost. He was fortunate to have survived. Twenty-five years of marriage ended when a constantly raging Edgar became verbally abusive to Pam who visited everyday as he recuperated. Edgar also suddenly displayed a talent as an artist.
Needing to leave behind people, he flees to Duma Key, Florida where only two other trauma survivors reside. Edgar finds out his new artistic skills enables him to see and change the future life and death of others even as he investigates the tragic history of his new island home.
Readers will sense the rage inside Edgar even as he calmly tells his tale. This is Stephen King at his best as he uses the theme of a person feeling isolated ready to strike out at others even loved ones.
I won't reveal the hypnotically readable plot--it must be experienced to be appreciated--but I will say that Edgar Freemantle's living nightmare plainly echoes events in Mr. King's recent history. A life-threatening accident, like an illness or the loss of a loved one, puts many things in perspective, and DUMA KEY sometimes seems like a personal statement, a portrait of the artist that is as thrilling as it is vivid. For all its entertaining terrors, it is ultimately a celebration of life itself. I urge you to read it. Highly, highly recommended.
The first 100 pages are a moving feat even for King, who draws upon his own accident as well recalling the horrific events in Abigail Thomas's memoir A Three Dog Life. King has been flirting with critical acclaim to match his commercial success for years, and this may finally be the book that elevates his status to another level in literary circles. Don't call it a comeback, though, because we all know that he never really left his Constant Readers.
Edgar Freemantle, the narrator, is in an accident that leaves him without an arm and with a shifting memory. But the story doesn't stop there. I could summarize the plot, but that would take some of the mystery away. So here's what King has to say about the basis of the novel: "[Edgar] discovers that, after this injury, that he is really a very talented painter and he moves to Florida and he starts to paint these pictures and then strange things start to happen with the pictures... And there is something going on, on this island, this Duma Key that is actually amping that talent up and making it stronger because there is something wrong there." (Lilja's Library interview, 01/17/07.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Amazing read. Incredibly and wishing it was even longer. A nice look inside the "easy street" lives of average ordinary millionaires.Published 21 hours ago by Shawn P Edwards
This is my favorite book by Stephen King. I recomment it to all Stephen King fans. If you're not a fan, read this book and you might just change your mind.Published 1 day ago by Cindy Todd
It had a great start, a little slow in the middle but once it picked up I couldn't put it down!Published 1 day ago by Nadia
Very typical Stephen King novel. Not the best, not the worst. Thought it went off the tracks a bit during the last quarter of the book. Read morePublished 3 days ago by edr
This is a beautiful, haunting book. If you are looking for gore and jump scares, this probably isn't the book for you. Read morePublished 6 days ago by C. Payton
Stephan King is like fine wine, he only ever gets better with age. Brutally amazing book. Enticing in every way possible.Published 6 days ago by Kindle Customer