Christian's Reviews > Under the Dome

Under the Dome by Stephen King
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Jul 13, 2012

did not like it
Read in July, 2012

I purchased this at a bookstore in the Denver airport, then on my way back from a four day family reunion abandoned it at that same airport, not fifty yards from where I bought it, pushing it behind a chrome and plaster column at gate C39 with my shoe.

It's really bad. Any hope you might have in the early pages will be dashed. I only bought it because it's probably the only one of his I haven't read yet, except that Buick one, and one of the short story books, and if the airport had stocked one of those instead, but here we are.

This novel will keep you turning pages when you are at a shaded picnic table surrounding by screaming children, or wherever else you are this summer when there is a great temptation for you to think about the paths you have taken in this life, and an even greater temptation to think about anything else, or nothing else, at all.

If, like me, you started reading Mr. King's work in the early 80s, come on in, the bathwater is fine. If nothing else, Mr. King is our most vivid chronicler of American BBQ foods and rural New England sayings. He has helpfully provided not only a Dramatis Personae, but a map! You will find much call to refer to both, but by the end neither will help you to care about any particular character.

The lure of Mr. King's best novels are that he is able to draw characters who we might meet at the grocery store, then open a Lovecraftian abyss beneath their feet. The measure of his success is part in how much we believe in the normality of his small-town Maine, and how much the shocking, alien quality of his fictions' intruders cause us to consider the times and places in our own lives where the banal has, for a moment, given way to the uncanny.

This is not one of his best novels. If you, like me, occasionally find yourself in need of a novel by Mr. King, I suggest you look elsewhere in the canon for your fix. Do not pick this one up unless you are in dire extremity and have no other options.
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