Tuesday, March 04, 2008

"Duma Key" by Stephen King

The first 500 pages are sublime. The last 100, I was like "really? I mean really?" Does that deter me to think the book was terrible? Not really. I'm sure you're thinking, "well, it's Stephen King, what did you expect?"

I guess I was expecting another "Lisey's Story." If you've read "Lisey's Story" and know the term Magical Realism, you will notice that our friend Stephen didn't write a scary book or even a horror novel...but the fantastic was so embedded into that story, it was normal. I like that kind of storytelling.

"Duma Key," a story about Edgar Freemantle, a well-off (or so) construction contractor who started his own business, but is backed into by a crane, almost dies, suffers head injuries and loses an arm. The story takes off from there and the reader is on the journey with Edgar as he rehabilitates himself, first unsuccessfully with his wife, and because of that, they divorce, and then more successfully down in Florida in the made up landscape known as Duma Key. There we meet a handful of characters that help Edgar recoop. He also discovers he is one helluva good painter. So good, it's almost spooky.

And then, spooky things begin to happen with those paintings. Don't worry, they don't come alive or anything cliche like that. That was my fear as I began to read the book, but when I realized the power behind those paintings and his phantom limb issues, it became a little deeper than that. And of course, the book isn't titled "Duma Key" for nothin'...the new ability seems to be heightened by staying on the island.

And so the first 500 pages mixes this new ability to paint pictures, rehabilitation, new friends and the island into a great mix of story, something I couldn't put down.

The last 100 pages weren't overboard or completely crazy, but they didn't seem to fit with the rest of the book. I hoped it would've gone in a different direction, but I was also longing for another "Lisey's Story".