Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lisey's Story by Stephen King (10/10)

Reading 'Lisey's Story' was like coming home!

I'm a huge fan of Stephen King. I've read all his novels and absolutely adore his writing. Before 'Lisey's Story', when I extolled King’s writing, I used many adjectives to describe his writing - amazing, wonderful, brilliant... but never 'Great'. Its not a word I use lightly and it didn't seem right to use the word 'Great' then. Now I know why. It wasn't yet time…

I was waiting for 'Lisey's Story'.

This is the book that places King firmly among the writing greats. A book that confirms what all his previous books had promised. All the other books that he's written before gave a hint of what he was capable of, promised something spectacular to come, they brushed greatness without ever actually touching it. But with 'Lisey's Story' he has achieved greatness. A book that leaves no doubt at all that this man has reached the peak of his craft!

A deeply touching, moving, heartbreakingly beautiful gem of a book. A book where he has reached new, stunning heights of narration that I never imagined could even exist. You know a writer is at the peak of his powers when he can narrate not 1, not 2, not 3, but 5, COUNT IT!!! 5! stories concurrently. And then goes on to link them emotionally, linguistically, geographically and meteorologically; by words, actions, feelings, emotions, weather and geography. UNBELIEVABLE, and yet accomplished flawlessly by King. The final proof of his utter mastery of his craft.

(A book so good, in fact, that it surprised even its own author. In his own words, “It's like surfers and the seventh wave. You ride six waves that are O.K., and then the seventh one is really great. But with every seventh wave, you mess up the ride, so really it's only every 49th wave that's really a great, great wave, and I felt that way with Lisey. I'm not saying that it's deathless prose, or it's a classic, but I'm saying that I'm surprised I had this book in me. It's a lucky book.”)

A Stephen King book is never just about the story. Mostly because the story is extremely straightforward - an adolescent girl, a rabid dog, a haunted hotel… simple things with a touch of the supernatural. The magic is in the telling of this straightforward story. And in 'Lisey's Story' the way he conjures up a masterpiece from a simple tale of a widow coming to terms with the death of her husband is mind-blowing.

'Lisey's Story' talks in the present and in the past, through the living and through the dead, goes forwards and goes backwards, and at times recounts events through several layers of time (a memory today, calling up a memory 10 years back, which in turn calls up a memory 17 years before that…literally bending time!)

The narrative technicalities aside, what really makes this book a masterpiece is the tenderness that this so-called purveyor of horror manages to convey - constantly touching your heart, bringing a tear to your eye with his words. Love at its simplest, most powerful and most tender with an economy of words that leaves you speechless. Proving over and over that you don't need big words or complex turns of phrase to touch readers' hearts. All you need is to be honest in your writing and you can tug at the heartstrings of your readers. Writing thats so simple, and yet, so heartbreakingly tender.

At its heart this is a love story: love between a husband and wife, love between brothers going through hell together, love between sisters, and above-all love between a very sick father and his terrified sons. Different forms but always love in its purest form, infinitely tender and so intense that it threatens to explode from the pages.

I could go on and on with the superlatives. But I won't. I'll only say that I'm glad of the day I picked up my first King novel and thank King to have written such a wonderful, wonderful tale. I can say without any exaggeration whatsoever that I consider myself fortunate to have read this book.

Thank you, Mr King, for your writing! And thanks for Lisey!

Everything the same…

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