Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Wind Through the Keyhole - Stephen King

I re-read the Dark Tower series JUST SO I could read this book and have it make sense (my plot-retention capabilities are almost nil) but it turns out that I didn't have to, because all you need to know is that Roland.

And I am READING this (and presumably King is WRITING it) because the series is over and I'm not ready to let it go and I want more Jake, more Susannah, and obviously more Oy. And, ok, you get 31 pages of the original ka-tet, but much of that is spent re-establishing stuff that you already know if you've read the books (Blah blah Eddie makes a smart comment blah Susannah retorts but it's really her inner-alter-ego Detta Walker, you can tell by all the ghetto slang blah blah Oy blah), and stuff that you don't care about if you haven't. And then they hunker down and Roland spins a tale that lasts all night and holds them all in its spell and didn't we just do this in Book Four? I'm sure we did.

And it's about Young Roland, who I love (Wizard and Glass is maybe my favorite of the series) but it's told BY Roland, which is dumb. I don't want to be inside Young Roland's head, I want to be peering in at those blue bombardier's eyes and trying to figure out what's going on. And it's jarring, because Roland's reticence is so fundamentally a part of who he is, and W&G manages to retain that by sliding into third-person so that while you KNOW Roland is being uncharacteristically chatty, you don't FEEL it. In Keyhole he keeps being like 'me this' and 'I that' and 'let's talk about my feelings at this juncture' and you are like GO HOME, ROLAND, YOU ARE DRUNK.

Take off that hat, too.

And then on top of that, there's a difference between what you can say in what is essentially a monologue, and what you can say in narration, and SKing hasn't quite sussed it out. ESPECIALLY if you know who the speaker's audience is. You explain what a salute looks like when your audience is the mystical Reader, not when it's your pals who have SEEN YOU SALUTE.

ANY ro', so Roland tells them about the time he and Jamie DeCurry (not even Cuthbert or Alain! Fuck Jamie DeCurry) go off to deal with a skin-changer who is terrorizing (and also eating) a small village. And there's a boy who saw something and so Roland locks him up to keep him safe and tells him a tale to amuse him and this sort of nested tale-within-a-tale is koiiiind of my favorite (see: Cloud Atlas; The Orphan's Tales) but their connections to each other and to the grander Tower arc are tenuous at best.

And both stories are FINE, but there are two of them wedged into one smallish novel so they're both so SHORT and I don't need them to be 1005 pages *hem* but they aren't deep and delightful and they add nothing to the overall story arc. THEY DON'T EVEN INVOLVE THE SAME PLAYERS. The story Young Roland tells is about some kid whose dad gets eaten by dragons only he doesn't. I DO NOT CARE ABOUT THIS SOME KID OR HIS DAD. Dragons I can get behind.

But it's very Stephen King, especially in the Treating As A Thing Something That has Never Before Been Referred To sense, like ok in this book, 'short' is shortened to 'shor' (as in 'shor'-legged woman') as though it were part of the local dialect but only in this one book and billy-bumblers are called 'throcken' sometimes (which is to say, they never are in any other books and ALWAYS are in this one). But, I mean, it isn't until Book Five that Roland picks up his habitual finger-twirling gesture that THEN BECOMES HABITUAL FOREVER. So, way to be consistent, Stephen.


In sum, I am contractually obligated to like anything connected to this series now, but this is superfluous and not even that good and NOT EVEN THAT MUCH CONNECTED TO THE SERIES.

Six caterpillars, I guess.

15 comments:

Amanda said...

Ugh, thank you for reviewing this so now I know not to read it. I sort of knew it was not going to be worth my time, plus I am so very emotionally involved with this series (if we ever get together for drinks, I promise you I could spend at least an hour lamenting the fact that SK TOTALLY DROPPED THE BALL regarding Thomas and Dennis from The Eyes of the Dragon, not to mention the general suckitude of books 5 and 6) that I was afraid to read this because I figured it would just ruin everything. And yet my curiosity was starting to get the better of me! So thanks for shedding some light on this and saving me from myself.

(No Cuthbert or Alain?? WTF indeed.)

Brooks said...

Okay, I don't feel bad for not having read this yet. Even though I've read the first four books four times, I can't seem to muster up the energy to go and get this.

Laura said...

WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS BOOK THEN!

I've been really dubious about it since it came out because I am NOT so much a fan of Wizard and Glass and this kind of sounded like that. Only now it sounds worse than that, so... Hmph.

OBVIOUSLY I'm still going to read it though. That was hopefully clear.

Jenners said...

I guess I just need to read the series then

Malin said...

I adore Wizard and Glass, but then there's the problem of the books following it. So many years waiting for King to finish the series, and the last 3 books are such a disappointment. I like the final epilogue, but that's about it. So I'm glad you confirmed that I really don't want to be wasting my time with The Wind Through the Keyhole, because there are too many other shiny books there for me to spend my time reading, I want to avoid the duds if I can.

Online Books said...

I am gonna read this book after all..i love wizard and glass and those what people are saying "blah blah blah... Earlier parts were good and i can hope that this will also going to be favorite one.. love this series actually :)

Rebekah Joy Plett said...

The prize horse (gift horse?) is my favourite part of this post. SHOW ME THE TEETH.

Rebekah Joy Plett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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