Stephen King - Duma Key
(Hodder & Stoughton)
Pseudonyms and non-fiction works all-in, Stephen King raises his bat for the half-century with this long-winded Florida ghost story. He is, of course, infamous for the filmic adaptations of his sinister novels (perhaps more so than for the books themselves) and coming to his written word for the first time it’s easy to ascertain why; the writing is populist and immediate, the author skilled and certainly practised at stringing the reader along.
Here, King returns to time-honoured obsessions, this time mixing up the convalescence from a near-death and physically debilitating vehicular accident with ruminations on art and memory, the winter retreat making a nice location change from popular protagonist venue Maine. The spells cast in plausible and often poignant fiction are endlessly undone in idiotic flights of fancy, and in truth the opening chapter acts as a tell-all for the book proper; full of character, insight and humanity but concluded in the maddeningly absurd.