Tuesday, June 08, 2010

10.18 Under The Dome by Stephen King

Under The Dome (2009) by Stephen King
Hardcover, Scribner, 1074 p.

"His latest, 1,088-page tome, Under the Dome (Scribner, $35), hews to the classic King formula: A community is isolated, a force of horror is introduced. In this case, Chester's Mill, Maine, is sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes and helicopters and cars and birds crash into it. A gardener's hand is severed by it. Bullets whiz off it. So do missiles. No one knows where it came from — whether it is supernatural, a military experiment, or an act of terrorism. The real focus is not the dome, of course, but what happens beneath it, the "orderless, reasonless beast that can arise when frightened people are provoked." King's ability to create a gripping world is so great, his pacing so effortlessly swift, that it can feel as if you're caught in a cat's claws, at once fearful of and delighted by the horrors the next page might bring.

Often that horror is trained on a war vet turned line cook who goes by the nickname Barbie. He is our doorway to 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, waterboarding. Look to contemporary horror movies like Hostel, Saw, Wolf Creek, The Devil's Rejects — all of them spotlighting abduction, rape, torture, dismemberment — and you can understand them as offspring of the war on terror. The world under the dome is born of the same caul, but it's infinitely more sophisticated, because King knows that the biggest danger comes not from the outside — from bombs, from war, from Islam — but from the mob growing within. We are all under the dome."

Benjamin Percy in Esquire

1000 pages in a little over week, baby! I had this one out from the library so I was under the gun to finish it before the due date as I knew I would never get it back. I've been off King since I was a teenager but I wanted to pick this one up because I had a lot of fun recently with his last book Cell. That book was really over the top and had some great moments although in the end I think he fell back on some of his stander King-ian tropes. Also, UTD was supposedly an idea he had back in the 70s that he had shelved and finally returned to. I think his earlier books are the best.

UTD is fine. It is immensely readable but in the end like one of those movies that has one cool idea but fails elsewhere. There is a huge cast of characters and at times you wish that some of them would just die a horrible death so you could get on with it.

In the end, I'd have to say you should take a pass on this one unless you are a huge fan and have lot's of time to devote to reading.

1 comment:

Crumbolst said...

Wow, 1,000 pages. I usually shy away from books that could pass as logs. The premise of this one, though, sounds really great.

I just finished Salem's Lot!