Friday, 14 December 2012

What I've Been Reading:
'The Wind Through The Keyhole' by Stephen King

The Wind Through the Keyhole

There are a lot of people out there who claim Stephen King to be their favourite author yet have never read any of his books. What these people mean is that they have seen the films based on his books and enjoyed them. These are the people who make me loath to call King my favourite author. But I'm going to be brave and admit it. I <3 Stephen King. He's a legend and I would love to have even half of his talent.

My girlfriend is also a huge Stephen King fan and we actually have nearly two shelves of our giant bookcase reserved for just his books. And we don't own even half of them. Although our goal is to eventually own everything he's ever had published. 

It was actually my girlfriend who got me into King's 'Dark Tower' series. At 7 books long, it was already a ridiculously long story, but one which I loved every word of. Each book was better than the last and pulled me deeper into the world of Roland Deschain of Gilead, Gunslinger and last in the line of Arthur Eld. When I closed the last book in the series, I expected that to be the last we'd hear of Roland and his Ka-tet. But I was wrong. This year saw the publication of 'The Wind Through the Keyhole', a 'Dark Tower' novel which can technically stand alone but should be shelved between books 4 and 5. King has described the novel as number 4.5 and it is. It fills in a gap in Roland's journey and really in my eyes, its purpose is more to flesh out Roland's history than to add to the telling of his current journey in search of the Dark Tower.

I read this book in roughly two days. And I couldn't put it down. It sucked me in straight away, even though I haven't read any of the Dark Tower series in well over a year. I instantly reconnected with the characters I had loved so much and spent a ridiculous amount of time with while reading the other books in the series (at least two months of reading time?). 

The structure of this novel is interesting. It basically amounts to a story within a story within a story. I know that sounds confusing but it really wasn't. While hunkering down from an extreme storm known as a Starkblast, Roland entertains his companions with a story from his past, a story that reveals a lot about his character and adds to the history revealed to us in 'Wizard and Glass'. As the story he is telling progresses, he remembers and repeats a story his mother told him as a child, a story called 'The Wind Through the Keyhole', a story that is so enchanting that it sucks you in and makes you forget Roland and his band of companions waiting out the storm.

I loved this novel. It's King at his best. And it made me want to re-read the other Dark Tower novels. (Something I would do if I didn't already have so many unread books on my shelves to get through.) I sort of want to force everyone I know to read this book. I want them to see how incredible King is as a story-weaver. People think of him as primarily a Horror writer but I think his best novels are those that veer away from that genre; the 'Dark Tower novels', 'The Eye of the Dragon', 'Misery' and 'The Green Mile'. What I love about Stephen King is the way he gets at the dark side of human nature and exposes it. I think that's where the creep factor of his books lies - the way he shows us the monsters we could be if we had taken different steps in life, if things had worked out differently. 

As I've already said, I think Stephen King is a legend. I hope I've inspired you to go out and read one of his books. And I hope it changes your world.

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