Not the biggest image, but it is the cover of the paperback I’ve been reading:
A vast improvement on Carrie, in my humble opinion. The dates at the end show it took Stephen King more than 30 months between first word and last, and given the huge difference in content and approach and detail, I have to wonder how much of that was spent rewriting. And how different a novel Carrie might have been with the same approach? In On Writing, he claims to have written most of Carrie in two weeks. But this is about ‘salem’s Lot. 😉
I didn’t really sleep last night, so I’ve spent a chunk of time reading this over the last 7 hours. It is certainly a step toward the writer he has become, expertly merging different characters in different places happening simultaneously. But even here, he occasionally does something I don’t like, but something I know I still do, and that is to almost recap what is about to happen before backtracking and leading us through it. I feel this is kind of like a newspaper article, in that the first paragraph generally tells you the whole story in condensed form, and the subsequent paragraphs flesh out the various parts. At least, that’s how I remember it being discussed way back when I was at uni.
The place is a character in ‘salem’s Lot, and ends up feeling just as important as most of the others. Places have often featured in this way in his novels, with a quality example being IT. It also features a prologue and epilogue, which as contemporary writers we are warned against. I’m still not sure why. It has been argued that some readers skip prologues, and will therefore miss something the writer deemed important, while considering it fluff before the feast. More shame on the reader there, I say. Here, they serve as tasty bookends.
Something I had forgotten from this novel is… how few actual murders-by-vampires we see, and how little of Straker, and especially Barlow. Another surprise was how late in the book young Mark Petrie came to the fore; he’s mentioned earlier as the destination for the Glick boys, but doesn’t really appear until later. But many of the main deaths appear off-stage, as it were, although I won’t go into details here as I don’t want to spoil anything if you are new to it.
It is a scary book, and a definite page-turner, but filled as much (if not more) with character and camaraderie than vampires and neck-spoiling.
Next up – The Shining. Although I’m not sure if it will be the very next book I read (partly because I re-read it just last year, I think), it has been moved to a prominent position, with Jack Torrance already thinking, Officious little…