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…?