Thursday, August 19, 2010
Not exactly Kokomo
Duma Key and its story of construction mogul Edgar Freemantle and the new life he builds for himself following a terrible worksite accident and subsequent divorce is so immersive and moving that I almost wish the book didn't turn into a ghost story in its latter going. Following a lifetime in Minnesota constructing office buidings and strip malls, Edgar recuperates from his accident and shattered personal life on a lonely Florida key... lonely, that is, until he makes new, fascinating friends and discovers an amazing talent for sketching and painting that he was only dimly aware of before.
Thankfully, when the ghost story takes over the novel shortly past the halfway mark, it's a good one- mysterious, melancholy, and, finally, very scary- so I really didn't mind all that much that what felt like a really good, straight-up literary drama up to that point instead turned into another scary Stephen King novel. Because scary Stephen King novels when they're firing on all cylinders can still be quite somethnig, can't they? And it's not like the imagery and poetry and literary qualities disappeared in the latter going... they just served the creepy elements as well as Edgar's personal epiphanies.
If you haven't sampled Stephen King in a while, or haven't tried him at all yet, Duma Key is good one to dive into if you have any desire to check in with the author. It shows off his variety of skills quite well, especially his ability to create rich, living characters, wonderfully involving story situations, and, yes, big scares.
I listened to an unabridged audio production of Duma Key, beautifully read by the actor John Slattery (lately of the AMC series, Madmen), though I don't hesitate to recommend it on Kindle, where it's available for $8.99. Whether you get into this involving, scary story via your ears or your eyes, you'll get the full effect either way.