Friday, January 30, 2015
Rich, subtle story and... My GOD, what IS that??
As well as being a very edgy, very compelling reading experience, Stephen King's Revival also presented an interesting mix: the main body of the novel was a sweeping drama about a guy named Jamie Morton, covering (in Jamie's own words) his life, loves, challenges (personal and career oriented), tragedies, all that. It's a great tale, rich yet full of subtlety, and it'll probably remind you of some of Mr. King's other, more literary-tinged works (you know, the ones that get made into movies that don't advertise the fact that they come from Stephen King novels).
The other part of the novel, though, involves a guy named Charles Jacobs, who Jamie first meets when Jamie is a young boy and Jacobs is the town pastor. Jacobs then appears, disappears, and reappears throughout the novel, and every time we see him he is doing something new involving his intense interest in electricity. And this is where the novel's weird mix comes in: while Jamie's story is mostly subtle and naturalistic (basic life drama stuff), the Jacobs story is pretty much out and out horror, and ultimately the kind of intense, neon horror that Mr. King usually saves for his short stories (the ones that remind you of those gory EC comics from the 50's that got Congress up in arms). It's great stuff, but very scary, very over the top, and by the end, very slimy, gory, and disturbing-- disturbing because of what you see and what it all means.
I'm not saying that these two aspects- rich story, gory horror- don't fit comfortably together in one novel, only that it's a strange mix. But it's all involving and compelling, and (without telling you to much) it all eventually moves to a very effective communication of the idea that we should all really appreciate our lives right now, because... (well, to go further here would be telling you too much). But I will say this, the other strange mix in the novel occurs during the close, because in order to deliver his fairly upbeat message about smelling the roses in the here and now, Mr. King doesn't allow himself to pull any punches when presenting the disturbingly dark scenes and revelations that are required to deliver and contrast that message.
So, yeah, great rich story, small scares that escalate into some very big ones (and delivered via some very memorable imagery), and a fair amount of stuff to think about when you close the book. What more can you want from the Master?