Monday, April 02, 2012

Overlooked King

Ever discover that you had somehow missed a book by one of your favorite authors? Well, apparently I did just that.

It's not that I didn't know that Stephen King's Lisey's Story existed--I even referred to it back in 2008, when I wrote about Duma Key in a post here. But I never read it. In fact, I never even bought it.

Susan and I were noodling around at an antique store over the weekend, looking for nothing in particular, when I ran across a selection of $5 books. I gave the books a disinterested perusal, because I was sure there was nothing in that selection that would appeal to me, when I spotted a Stephen King book whose bright red spine looked foreign to me. I know my King collection well enough, and I was certain that I had never seen that spine on my King bookshelves.

It was Lisey's Story, and the moment I saw the die-cut dust jacket, I was certain that this book was not in my collection.

I couldn't figure out how that could happen, but a little research made it clearer. Lisey's Story was the King book that followed Cell, the most disappointing King book I ever read. Cell was so bad, in fact, that I came near to swearing off Stephen King entirely after that... and apparently I did, at least for one book.

It was published at a time when Dad was beginning to have issues as well; I wrote about them back in 2006 and 2007, so I won't go into them again, but a lot of things in my life got lost (or set aside for later) during that time. That may have contributed to my missing Lisey's Story, too.

I'm not through with Lisey's Story yet, but I'm glad I picked it up. It has the strength of characterization of Dolores Claiborne and an an intensity similar to Duma Key, although the story is narrower in focus. The book focuses on Lisey Landon, the widow of a famous author. The story splits its focus between the present, as Lisey begins to come to terms with aspects of her marriage that she had repressed, and the past, as events bring up memories of her husband, her marriage, and their love. It's a personal story, very personal--a story told by a man who has faced his own mortality and how it might affect the lives of those who love him.

I'm eager to finish it; it's rare to get a surprise book from a favorite author, and that's just what this is.


Charles R. Rutledge said...

I never read that one either, come to think of it. Glad you're enjoying it.

cliff said...

I think you'll like it a lot, too; it would have been particularly refreshing after Cell, which I find to be the least satisfying work he's ever written.