Saturday, 4 March 2017

Book Review: Duma Key by Stephen King

Duma Key focuses on the story of Edgar Fremantle, a self-made millionaire who becomes injured at work after a crane crushes his pickup truck. Following the loss of his arm, amidst other injuries, Edgar becomes a little too much for his wife to handle and she asks for a divorce. He leaves behind his wife and two daughters and heads off to Duma Key, a stunning but eerily quiet stretch of the coast where he has rented a house. Very quickly upon his arrival, he encounters the charismatic Wireman and the old lady he looks after - Elizabeth Eastlake. Although suffering from dementia, Elizabeth's tragic and heartbreaking history begins to unfold, while at the same time, Edgar finds himself able to paint striking, haunting pictures. However, the ability to paint such pictures seems to come from some other outside force...

"We can't imagine time running out, and God punishes us for what we can't imagine."

It's been a while since I posted a book review - three weeks to read Duma Key! But let me emphasise that this was due to being busy and not because I wasn't engrossed in this story. This book is held with high regard amongst the King community on bookstagram and pretty soon after starting this book, I realised why. This book easily has two of King's most likeable characters in Edgar and Wireman. What a duo. Their friendship just lifts up from the page from the get-go. There's just a real respect and love there and the lengths they will go to for each other and for their friendship is pretty astounding. I think these two characters are a huge part of what makes this book so enjoyable. And what makes their inclusion even more fascinating is that they're just pretty normal guys. Normal guys going through a kinda crazy situation. King's ability to build a story based on his characters is simply unparalleled. In addition to the friendship between Edgar and Wireman, the relationship between Edgar and his daughter, Ilse, is just so sweet and believable. King clearly draws on his real-life relationships when putting his character's relationships on page, which explains why they're just so real and touching.

As for the story itself, it was captivating. From the very beginning, I just had no idea where King was going to go with this one, and I was kept guessing for the majority of the book. The story actually gets pretty scary at times, there's some parts that made my hairs stand on end and were quite unsettling. I quite enjoyed the supernatural force at work within Duma Key, I liked the story behind it and thought King executed it perfectly. I also feel like King was commenting on the mixed blessing that comes with having an artistic talent and how often such talents come with their own drawbacks.

Now I am not one for locations such as the Floria coast, I'm not a beach kinda gal, but King really sells Duma Key to me. The location of this novel is GORGEOUS. His descriptions of sunsets and the beach and the house itself is just beautiful. He builds a real atmosphere, and if it wasn't for the scary forces at play, I'd move to Duma Key, like yesterday.

As for the ending - PERFECT. King's endings are often criticised but this one cannot be faulted, for me, personally. The book continually built up to a crescendo and didn't fall at the final hurdle. This one will stay with me for a long time, and has even forced itself into my top 5 King books. Outstanding.


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