Aug 24, 07
Read in August, 2007
Most of this book is fabulous psychological haunting along the lines of *Haunting of Hill House*: subtle, wrenching, elegant. If King had omitted the obligatorily grotesque death scene and unnecessarily-detailed gang rape, I'm sure I would have been quite happy at the end.
As it was, I closed the book simultaneously satisfied, confused, and disturbed (and not in the intellectual disturbance which is actually rather pleasantly provocative). The once-quiet ghosts finally manifest in absurd ways, and the protagonist gradually lost my respect as his mindless lust for a girl half his age took over. However, I suspect that King did that on purpose: he doesn't like his main male characters to stay pristine. They are their own anti-heroes.
So, I place Bag of Bones at about the same level of The Shining––interesting and enjoyable to read, with great literary potential, but thwarted just before its climax in gore and fantasy. Even as a squeamish person who can no longer tolerate pure fantasy and who avoids unliterary horror, I liked it. Didn't love it, but liked it.
However, I would warn any victims of sexual abuse far far far away from it unless they want shock therapy (ditto for Clockwork Orange).