Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Key Accomplishment

As much as I disliked Cell... that's how much I liked Duma Key.

There are times when Stephen King seems like more than one author. Cell, the last work published under his name (since then he did another novel, Blaze, under his Richard Bachman pesudonym), was a meandering, pointless, dissolute novel that went absolutely nowhere. I was wondering if King had lost the drive to tell a story.

But Duma Key proves that he still has what it takes.

King said that, where Lisey's Story was his novel about love, Duma Key is his novel about divorce. That's an oversimplification, though: Duma Key is also a novel about love, and it's a novel about art and the drive to create and the hidden place from which many artists derive inspiration... and it's a novel about change and the interrelationship of person and place and the dichotomy of change.

When King focuses on characters, he shines--and he shines a lot in this novel. I came to care for these characters and their triumphs and travails, and that drew me into the hefty tale. It's a novel that demands time, and it deserves it.

This is the Stephen King I first became enthused about more than thirty years ago. Welcome back!

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