Ironically, just as King calls it the 4.5 book in the series, I feel like that is the rating it deserves. It is a collection of two weaker stories andIronically, just as King calls it the 4.5 book in the series, I feel like that is the rating it deserves. It is a collection of two weaker stories and one that is good which fit together to build a wonderful book.
Everyone says it is a story within a story within a story. However, the first "layer" does not have a real story to it, the second layer is almost too short, and the third is the real story. I would put it differently. It was more of a story within a theme within a setting, and the real story had hardly anything to do with the characters of the series.
What I truly loved about this book was that though each "story" seemed to be completely different from each other, they all fit together in the title and the theme. As it is described in the book, each story was a keyhole, and the next story was the wind of time blowing through. Just as the book is centered around forgiveness, each "keyhole" opens another door to making it complete: correcting your mistakes, asking forgivenss, and granting your own forgiveness to others and yourself.
Whether or not these were well crafted stories is debatable. However, when I find it pulls me in to the point that I forget what's around me, and it gives me something truly important to think about afterward, I cannot deny that it accomplishes something much more important....more
Since this book is a collection of stories, I figured I would review each one separately:
"1922"- This story grabbed me harder than I expected. Being abSince this book is a collection of stories, I figured I would review each one separately:
"1922"- This story grabbed me harder than I expected. Being about a farmer who refuses to give up his land, and kills his wife for it, I was almost expecting a King version of "A Painted House". I got something much different.
As the story unfolds, the main character not only has trouble with hiding what he's done, but his wife begins haunting him. Yet the most interesting aspect is that everything he was trying to "protect" by the murder begins to fall apart. One thing that also made it interesting is that it has some symbolism of the way that guilt can tear one apart.
However this is not what really caught me. What I could not believe, and still find myself trying to deny as I write this, is that King found a way of making me feel a sort of merciful compassion for this man who murdered his wife, made his son take part in the crime, and ends up ruining the lives of all those around him.
In the end...It has some interesting points in the story that aren't as strong as they could be, but are still done well. It is not his best of his novellas. Yet, it has a beautiful way of drawing you into the most unexpected and disturbing tragedies I've ever read. 4 1/2 out of 5 stars
"Big Driver"- Solely because of what the plot is centered around, this is much more gruesome and disturbing than "1922". However, it increases the tension, and, ironically, the feel of this protagonist is the flip side of the coin.
In "1922", James is this man whose priorities are completely backwards and yet you feel compassion for him. In "Big Driver", Tess is an innocent woman who has the worst of crimes committed against her, yet the affects it has on her are so upsetting that you almost fear her as much as the antagonist.
What I enjoyed about this story is that it's almost the opposite of those Stephen King, or other horror novelists, stories where the antagonist's ghost comes to haunt the protagonist (primary example: "The Dark Half"). It may not have as much depth in its themes as "1922" but it is still good at pulling the reader in. 4 out of 5 stars
"Fair Extension"- This is simply a clever way of twisting a concept seen often in stories. It's fun and short but nothing outstanding. Just as the other stories seem to be twisting things, the end is the most pleasant, yet upsetting, conclusion. The last line of the whole story still makes it work well enough that I won't rate it any lower than three. 3 out of 5 stars
"A Good Marriage"- I have always had trouble deciding on a favorite in many places: poetry, short stories, movies, etc. But, most of all novellas have always been a challenge to decide between. However, "A Good Marriage" has just made a marvelous attempt at taking the #1 spot on my list.
This is an interesting change. It seems as one of those suspense or realistic horror stories, but this one focuses on a 3rd party that is indirectly connected to the main plot. It has a wonderful way of placing the most disturbing of situations into the most normal and acceptable setting available. In this and where the story goes it shows how little we know of the different sides of others, but, most of all, also ourselves. 5 out of 5 stars...more
Though I felt this book is better than the normal three star novel, I am unwilling to rate it as high as four. 3 1/2 would be the best way to rank it.Though I felt this book is better than the normal three star novel, I am unwilling to rate it as high as four. 3 1/2 would be the best way to rank it. The majority of the book is very exciting and has many interesting elements, but nothing to make it a masterpiece. Yet, there are things about the conclusion that are disappointing. The best way to explain it is by a few things said by some critics and other short reviews.
One person said that the conflicts within the town are a neat part of the book but ended halfway through, and the book then became something they were disappointed in. I see where they get the idea, however the conflicts don't end until the last hundred pages or so (which may seem like a bit, but, in this book, that is hardly anything).
Other people have said that it is a complex story with a much simpler moral or statement than some of King's other long novels, which they felt was a nice element. Though I see what they are saying, I would not say that the statement is simple, I would say it was far too vague. Also, to me, the conclusion that this statement is centered around felt very out of place when compared to the majority of the book.
To sum it up, I felt that king had a great concept for the setting of a unique and complex story, but ran out of choices at the end, and made things too vague, brief, and out of place for it to be one of his best....more
This has become my personal favorite. Many of King's fans have been upset with some of his later work because of the lack of true terror. Others wereThis has become my personal favorite. Many of King's fans have been upset with some of his later work because of the lack of true terror. Others were pleased because there was a bit more variety or literary quality. Me, I feel that I can't say his books ever got better or worse.
Stephen King writes so many different kinds of stories that everyone is going to be happy with some and disappointed with others. For me this has had very little to do with when he wrote them. It was all about how he gained more and more fans over the years. What makes Duma Key one of those few that works for almost all of King's fans is that it had more of a balance instead of focussing on one end of the spectrum. And he was also able to keep both sides of the coin well polished in this one. The characters, plot, terror, themes, haunting scenes, etc. all had a unique, slightly different twist to them.
Duma Key could seem slow at times. Some people could complain about how slow the first half of the story is. However, it is not constant. There are many places where the pace picks up for a little bit to keep the reader interested.
The other complaint that I have heard is that it gets too weird at the end. Yes, I usually don't like King's weirder stories as much as the others, but in Duma Key the bizarre is never allowed to go too far. It had to go somewhere because of how the whole story was slowly building up to it. So give me a way King could have ended it without bringing a little more paranormal into the equation, and you will probably give me an entirely new book.
In the end, I found it to be amazing because of the characters. I've heard many say that they're more developed. I felt that the difference was in how well the reader got to know the protagonist. Most of King's characters are very complex or well developed, but it's when the reader truly gets to know the character that it stands out. For me, the one thing that puts it as my all time favorite is how personally I felt connected and similar to the characters and how closely I could compare the story to my life. This is not something that I can say everyone, or anyone, else will see, but that is when literature will be most significant.