Dale's Reviews > Stephen King's The Dark Tower: A Concordance, #1

Stephen King's The Dark Tower by Robin Furth
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Apr 12, 2012

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bookshelves: stephen-king
Read in April, 2012

Here is a stellar example of exactly what kind of obsessive biblio-nerd I really am. I picked up Concordance because I thought it would be a handy reference to have while I endeavor to re-read all seven novels in Stephen King's Dark Tower cycle back-to-back, which I decided was something I needed to do when I heard that an unexpected eighth volume in the series was coming out this month, which of course I will be reading as well. The thing is, as someone who reads everything Stephen King publishes with nigh-slavish devotion, I'm well aware that the Dark Tower casts a long shadow over King's entire body of work. There are heavy references within to The Stand, and hints at a unified cosmology with IT (which in turn would tangentially connect it to 11/22/63), and then in the pages of other works like Insomnia and Low Men in Yellow Coats there are connections as well ... and those are off the top of my head, I'm sure there are many more. So what I was hoping for in the Concordance was something of a detailed roadmap of the saga in its entirety, so that I could pick up new tidbits I might have missed and also refrsh my memory of the whole sprawling epic without having to read another ten or twenty novels looking for stray nods and tie-ins.

But there's nothing like that in this book. Maybe there is in volume 2, which deals with books 5 through 7 of the series, all written in a period when King was getting a lot more meta with the whole project and putting a lot more overt references in his non-Dark Tower works (meaning not branded on the spine with the rose-and-keyhole motif, although you could probably argue that every SK story is a Dark Tower story). But v.1 of Concordance is mostly notes on characters, places, and events within the first 4 Dark Tower novels, and since I'm re-reading them anyway it's a bit redundant. Except for two things - an introduction by SK about the genesis of the whole enterprise, and an essay of critical analysis by the research assistant who compiled all these notes in the first place, Robin Furth. Both are interesting enough to enhance the experience of returning to the world of Roland of Gilead, but not exactly recommendation-worthy.

If this wasn't enough blathering about the whole "gonna spend a few months plowing through a series that took like 22 years to get published" move on my part, I'm of course blogging about it too: Parenthetical Asides
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