Duma Key

As I’ve mentioned before, I am no literary critic. I’m critical of many things, yes, but the fact is I don’t have enough experience or knowledge to give an analysis of somebody’s work beyond stating the obvious and/or giving my opinion. I know that a lack of these two factors doesn’t necessarily stop some critics from spewing bile about something but it does stop me. What gives me the right to deride someone’s efforts? Who am I to judge them?

Of course that doesn’t stop me from doing it from time to time. Especially when I’m talking about something terrible that deserves my mocking. Like Twilight, for example. Or Avatar perhaps (impressive effects doesn’t mean you can be lazy with the plot!). But with Twilight my criticisms are nothing new; I’m merely voicing what many others before me have already stated. Simply put it is a terrible film and book series.

Hmm, I did digress a little there didn’t I? Erm essentially I’m saying I’m not a critic. Books, films, music…anything (except games: I can do that). I’ll start off well but soon my piece will crumble when I realize I have no idea what I’m talking about. “The background drumming bit…uh, adds a certain dimension to the song”. What? And films…unless they are awful, all acting is the same to me.

But I am an avid reader and I write so I do feel that I have a chance at passing judgement on books; just don’t expect any great depth to my comments. Not yet anyway. But I’ll have a go anyway, and say that Duma Key by Stephen King, is fantastic. It’s an amazing book and if you like suspense horror you should read it.

After reading the Millennium Trilogy I was looking desperately for something that would draw me in like Larsson’s books had. So I decided to give Stephen King a go. I had read IT earlier this year, which is somewhat of an epic, so I decided to read another one of his. Then another. And another after that.

It started with a rereading of Misery. I’ve always found King’s style rather odd but I’ve come to like it. In Misery especially, it works perfectly in conveying the agony that Paul goes through. There is a long running metaphor throughout the book about pilings, and how the incoming tide covering these monolithic rocks represents his broken legs. It’s really quite graphic. The film is good (you can’t beat Kathy Bates for the scary nurse role) but the book is better. Obviously.

Next I moved onto Insomnia. Very interesting. I think the only problem with it was that it demanded a lot from the imagination, and well, mine isn’t very good. I know. Bizarre thing for a writer to say isn’t it? To be fair, I think it just lazy. Or has a very narrow range to work with, because whenever I’m reading I tend to associate things with what I know and it is very difficult for me to pull away from this. Every building or room is somewhere from my childhood, for example, and any effort to think otherwise demands several minutes planning it out in my head. I just can’t do it. When I’m writing my own stories it is much easier, but in reading I just don’t think. People too, are hard for me to imagine. Especially when they aren’t described in details until many pages into the book. By this point I’ve thought of how they look and it is too late to change my vision.

This was the problem with Insomnia (or at least my problem with it); I just struggled to form certain aspects of it. It was, however, a great read and I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. The story was unique. Clever too. I like how King doesn’t go for the macho hero. They always have their flaws outside the clichéd ‘drinks too much’ or ‘bitter about childhood’ or something. But yeah, Insomnia is good. It just helps to have an active imagination. And not to rush the last 200 pages so your work colleague could take it with him when he goes for his weekend break. That didn’t help. He loved it though, so there we go.

My third King book was Duma Key. Wow.

It started slow with the very depressing story of our protagonist Edgar Freemantle, whose life had fallen apart after he lost his arm in a horrific accident, but as it progressed it really did draw me in. As you neared the finale all the pieces of the plot suddenly fell into place. This is why I want to restructure my book; the way King built up this story, keeping it interesting without really explaining anything until the end, was magnificent. You know it is a good book when you can’t put it down, and in that respect I feel Duma Key was by far the best in comparison to everything else I’ve read. And I’ve read The Hungry Caterpillar.

More importantly after all this suspense I found the conclusion satisfying too. I wasn’t left disappointed, which has unfortunately happened before. I look forward to finishing the book and then…nothing. But that didn’t happen here. Everything was perfect, I really couldn’t improve on it. I couldn’t give the book higher praise. I loved it. I really did.

Bravo Mr King. If you hadn’t won me over before, you have now.

Only one more question to ask really. What do I read next?

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