Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Duma Key by Stephen King Book Review 1

Duma Key is a book by Stephen King that reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list so I had high hopes for this when I began reading it.It is about a man named Edgar Freemantle who has a near death experience in a construction accident and moves to Florida to the remote island of Duma Key to recover from his injuries.He loses his right arm in the accident and suffered a severe head injury also so he has trouble remembering names and other things.He moves into an old house called Salmon Point on the northern side of the island and gradually recovers.He begins to paint and suddenly paints masterpieces of strange images like young girls and old ships.

Also on this remote island He meets and befriends a man called Jerome Wireman who is looking after an elderly lady called Elizabeth Eastlake who grew up on Duma Key.There is also a character called Jack Cantori who is a young man who gets anything Edgar needs like fresh supplies or drives him around.

Straight away I was reminded of the TV show Lost as there is a mysterious remote island and it doesn't help when on the back of my copy is the quote from Damon Lindelof
"Simply put,this is one of the most haunted character pieces he's ever written.Horrific.Tragic.And absolutely beautiful."

I'm sure King sent the cheque first class for the compliment!

Then to top it off when Edgar tries to go to the other side of the island with his daughter they get sick so they don't go there again.Hmmmmmmmmmm.Maybe something doesn't want them to go to the other side do you think?!!! His friend Wireman talks in spanglish which I found annoying but let it slide as that's the characters way of talking.Then we have the just-split-from-my-wife story also.He almost killed his ex wife when they were married so she is still angry at him.His daughters still love him and visit the odd time and he emails them.

This is a 690 page book and for the first 150 pages nothing happens at all.We are just trailing Edgars recovery and how he lives his life.I wonder if this is autobiographical as King had a well known car accident that almost killed him.If it wasn't a King book I probably would have stopped reading it.Then the middle part of the book is kind of where things begin to happen but not much. Then the last 150 pages is where the windup to the climax happens.The end part is where I found myself interested at last in the story.It seemed like the end was written separately and the rest tacked on.Duma Key is like a short story that has been stretched out to a full novel but the result is very thin.

I was reminded of the scene in Family Guy where Stephen King is in front of his editor and when asked about his new book King looks around for ideas.King grabs a lamp and says its about a scary lamp!!! The editor says your not even trying anymore! But then to top it off the editor says when can I have it!!!!!

Duma Key feels like a book King could churn out in his sleep and he seems to have a new book every few months.That's fine but he has to watch the quality more.This was like Black House that he wrote with Peter Straub.Way too long and having people get sick when they enter a haunted area or place doesn't make the reader afraid or nervous.We need more than that!

Throughout the book there are 12 short chapters called How to Draw a Picture.These are meant to be about the Eastlake family history but they really didn't work for me at all.Everytime I came to them I thought O no not again! They interrupted what little story there was and didn't seem to fit in.They are there to give more background but it could have been done a different way.

Don't get me wrong here folks.I am a big fan of Stephen King.Carrie was one of the first books that really got me excited about reading.Snobs like Shirley Hazzard who said
"We don't need reading lists from Stephen King."
They are just jealous as he is more popular than they are.This book would not be one of my favourites though.The end of the book just makes it worthwile.

Duma Key by Stephen King (5/10)


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