I have a long relationship with the reading of the novels of Stephen King. From “The Stand”, “Salem’s Lot” and “It”, right through the collections and now, “Doctor Sleep”.
If anything, King has gotten tamer in his depictions of gore and violence, preferring the visceral fear of the reader’s imagination, painting with finer strokes. I like reading his work because he sets them in the part of the world I am from, the Northeast, mountains, woods, winter and sometimes hardscrabble existence. Places where the communities have flourished for a long time, relatively speaking, and where there have been time for nature to go away and come back.
The connection with his earlier work “This Shining” makes for an interesting read, as well as the cameos from his other work over the years. The villains of the piece are surprising in the least appearance they have in whole of the novel. A brief intersection of live, but mostly about a man, Dan Torrance, coming to grips with his heritage and finding a way to make a life after the horrors.
King’s other sleep book “insomnia” is one of my favorites, both for the older characters, but of the discoveries that are made, and the intimate knowledge of the self and how sleep relates to us all. Our greatest unknown country, the one we enter every night and surrender our corporeal selves to the risk of awarelessness, and the exploration of the dreams.
Horror is a genre that excites our fear of the unknown. Sometimes, it is lazily offensive by the description of gore and unspeakable acts, but then there are the time when it is the quiet realization of possibility, and the common fears of us all magnified to such heights as to be unbearable.