the stand

Have you read it?

Which version? As originally published, or the expanded later edition. Which was, in truth, written first. 😉

I’ve read both (not bragging, just saying). The shorter one twice, the longer one thrice. Although the way my brain forgets things to allow me to re-marvel at previously marvelled things means I’d forgotten most during this re-read.

Yes, I just re-finished it. And I don’t remember how I felt before. But this time I thought I’d jot down a few thoughts before they, too, fade…

First off, I am a Stephen King fan. Have been for more years than I care to consider. He can create a character and have me care for said character as well as anyone I’ve ever read. And he can set a scene so you live it. And he can tell a story. Probably most important.

However, while in years past I enjoyed all parts of most books, in the last six or so years I’ve drifted away from revelling in the violent side of things. Sometimes I can just about stomach it in fiction, but I often skip the darker parts. In films and television I now tend to avoid if I can. I know there is darkness in the world, and in most of us to varying degrees, but I don’t have to be shown it, especially gratuitously, to understand this. Even the bits left to my imagination is often too much.

But I’m off track. Whereas before I could enjoy all of a book, now I tend to enjoy only the character-building, the scene-setting, and the story-building. But when it comes to the denouement, to the crash of climactic violence, I lose interest. So I tend to enjoy the first two-thirds of King’s novels; perhaps four-fifths. But the bloody finale leaves me relatively uninterested.

That’s all usually. Without giving anything away, really, with the Stand I found myself enjoying most of the first 1130 pages, but the final 290 don’t really feel like the same story. I don’t want to spoil anything, but once the four begin their quest it kind of twists into something else. And even within that it doesn’t quite work. For me. This time.

Obviously there’s still enough in the novel to find me re-reading it AGAIN. And I still care for the characters, and laughed and cried. But I’m left wishing I could remember how I felt upon finishing it the other times – whether I’ve always felt like the last fifth didn’t feel right. And I know I can’t ever know.

The best I can do is find out what others think/thought.

So – how about you…?

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6 Comments

  1. I am also a big Stephen King fan, have been since the long ago–lord, I can’t remember how many years it’s been–day I picked up Carrie in a used bookstore. (Like you, I too prefer the soft over hardcover, and I was poor at the time and couldn’t have have afforded a new hardback anyway.) And I agree with your asessent of his character building; no writer on this earth can bring a person to life like that man can. But unlike you, I love the endings too. What bugs me is some of the time, his books seem unfinished, not fully explained. But I stiil read everything he write. And I’m also a big Dean Koontz fan, though he can get a little preachy at times.

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    1. My apologies – somehow I missed this yesterday.

      Thanks for commenting again.

      Some endings I still enjoy as much as I used to, but I’m not so much one for the big blockbuster finale anymore, and much prefer his characters to his climaxes. That said, this is probably true for most books with “big” endings.

      And yes, I’m a Koontz fan, too. From The Corner Of His Eye is one I’ve read a few times. As are Strangers and Lightning, the former being one I recently re-read, and was actually the first one by him I read. I’m not such a fan of his monster/alien-based books, though. And yes, he can get a little preachy, bless him.

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  2. I absolutely loved From the Corner of His Eye. I think it is my favorite of Koontz’s.
    What did you think of the Gunslinger series? Now that was a disappointing ending. My son who also reads King, hated the ending also. And did you know there will possibly be a series of movies–like Star Wars–about Roland the Gunslinger?

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    1. I have read the Gunslinger/Dark Tower series three times now, the latest time to slip in the “new” book at 4.5 in the series 😉

      And yes, I was disappointed by the end. But the more I think about it each time I’ve re-read, the more I think it suits the story.

      And yes, I heard about a possible film or tv series based around the books, but I won’t be watching. I’m almost always disappointed by tv/film versions of favourite books, so rarely bother anymore. I tried with the recent series for Under The Dome, but still didn’t take to it. Think I’ll just stick to the books now.

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