The New Stephen King

An interesting combination of long novels, this month.

The first was Stephen King’s new one, “Lisey’s Story.” I got this as a Christmas present. I read my first King novel (“The Shining”) when I was a wee lad of 11 or 12. Way too young to be reading King. It warped me. Before age 14 I had polished off “The Stand,” “Salem’s Lot,” “Night Shift”…well, in fact, everything he’d written to date. Did I mention by age 14? Seriously warped me. (Context: I was born in 1970.)

More recently, the work has been hit or miss. Maybe Steve was getting stale. Or, maybe, I had enough horror in my own life that Steve didn’t have a lot to show me anymore. But there have been a few of the more recent books that shook me like old King. “Bag of Bones” from a few years back was one such book. And “Lisey’s Story” is another. It was a pleasure to again read a Stephen King novel and enjoy every moment of it. It was nice in another way, too; the book clearly meant many things to him on many levels, and was a love letter to many things for many reasons, but the obvious ones aside, there was another: it read to me like a love letter to those of us who had read him as a kid then gone on to become writers. It was a bit startling, frankly; kind of like having ol’ Steve over my shoulder saying, “See? I told you. I warned you. But cool beans anyway, right? Not like you had a choice, right? Rock on, baby.”

Since it’s that kind of month (long novels, warped stories, returns to childhood), I just started Elizabeth Kostova’s “The Historian.” Looking forward to this one like nobody’s business. I’ll report back later.

-Christian Bauman
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