September 26, 2012

Book: Lisey’s Story by Stephen King

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 7:15 pm

It is not for nothing that Stephen King is known for his books and is one of the most popular fiction writers. This is another of those books that are wonderful to read. King has written many excellent books (Insomnia for example) and very few really bad books as well (Tommyknockers comes to mind). But when he gets it ‘right’, like in this one, he can be incomparable.

But unlike The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (Reviewed here earlier) which takes off in the very second page, this one starts a bit slow and even – dare I say it? – boring. But it really takes off when the hero, Scot Landon, a writer, gets shot, around page 40 or so. Then it just keeps its pace, never letting up. (One different thought: Have you noticed how many  of King’s books are written around writers or aspiring writers?)

The story is told brilliantly, except for the first few pages. The character is developed slowly. Lisey is widowed and is living alone, with painful memories of her husband Scot, right from the first page, but Scot appears a lot in her flashbacks. The story also slowly takes on a supernatural flavour, in the very Stephen King way of allegories. The allegories are brilliant: The pool where everyone goes to drink, for instance. The background story of Scot Landon gets more and more fascinating and scary, and takes you deeper and deeper into his painful and strange childhood, with a brother and father both getting progressively maniacal in turns. Scot’s amazing ability to heal faster from wounds (“We Landons are fast healers”) is explained in a charming and fascinating way.

Lisey herself has issues on her family’s side; her sister Amanda, who cuts herself regularly after a total failure of her relationship; Amanda’s increasingly catatonic state of mind, where she had to be admitted into a sanitarium; her miraculous recovery once Lisey understood where she had really gone in her mind, all told beautifully.

Add to it the semi-lunatic Jim Dooley shows up and does unspeakable things to her to force her to give up her husband’s manuscripts to a library of his choice, the story turns even more intense, if that is possible.

The first time Lisey has any inkling that her husband is not an ordinary man is when she suddenly finds herself into a forest, with no memory of how she got there. She was talking to her husband in a hotel room and suddenly she was in the outside, with absolutely no explanation. From there, she learns of the Boo-Ya Moon, the creatures there – good, evil and so unspeakably evil that the mere mention of it creates revulsion.

The fact that Scot had even planned events after his death is amazing, and well told.

You possibly wonder why the story is proceeding further when the main event is over (the main bad guy is dead or worse) but the ending justifies the continuing of the story and is beautifully told. You fully understand why the story continues, and in fact, agree that it completes the narration!
I think it is a wonderfully written book, if you get past the initial drag, and if you remember the kind of books King writes. Not too deep, not too intellectual, but – heck – really entertaining!

I would not hesitate to give it a 7/10. It does not get an even higher score only because of the initial 40 pages or so.

— Krishna


1 Comment »

  1. I actually feel like a lot of Stephen King starts off slow, but it’s always incredibly gripping by the end!

    Comment by DoingDewey — September 26, 2012 @ 11:08 pm

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