Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Firestarter -- Stephen King

Holy fuck, did it really take me this long to read a Stephen King novel? I just managed to finish it a couple of days ago, and I picked it up--a long time ago. An embarrassingly long time ago. E's brother was reading it in the bathroom, I flipped through it and realized it had been a long time since I had read it, and I didn't remember it at all, and the language caught me the way it always does in Stephen King novels. It drives me a little nuts--there's something there. There's a talent, there.

The guy can write, fluidly, and he nails the regionalisms and he has good, big ideas--but there's also something missing, that I can't nail down, which gets worse with every book out. His early books, when he's not important enough yet to demand he not be edited, he comes close to that ephemeral something that almost makes him brilliant, though he never quite reaches it. A depth, a subtlety, something. I don't know. But Firestarter started out well, and kind of fell apart in the end without any of the characters achieving any kind of substance or nuance and the storyline never quite came together, and it made me sad, the way his books always do. Maybe that's why it took me so long to read this. That, and the internet is shiny.


Blogger Rob said...

I've only read one of Stephen King's novels - Rose Madder. I really enjoyed parts of it, but it sort of meandered about for a while and fell apart in the end.

Years later I read his non-fiction On Writing, and he stats that Rose Madder was his least favourite book, so maybe I'll give him another shot.

10:36 PM  
Blogger BC said...

I really think he would have been better if he had not tried to write horror. I know that's blasphemy, but his early novels are always almost really good ... but his horror is not all that horrifying, it's usually kind of lame and it detracts from the story he was telling. (Also he has weird ideas about sex that are just too stupid to put into print. I'm thinking of IT here, which has some of his best writing and also his dumbest horror conclusion and his very worst sex stuff.)

Of course later he wrote some non-horror but it was too late by then and he was too fancy for editors. I still think "The Body" is pretty good.

7:30 AM  
Blogger Leishalynn said...

Read The Shining before you judge Stephen King's literary contribution to date.

4:13 PM  

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