Tuesday, December 5, 2017

"The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger" or How I Found A Stephen King Book I Liked.

I'm not a huge Stephen King fan. There, I said it. 

I know, it's weird to be involved in the horror genre and not worship him. 

And while I didn't like many of his books, it doesn't change the fact that he did so much for writing and horror that he deserves his rightful place as a master of both. And his life story is, like most of the masters of anything, uplifting for a lot of us. 

My dad talks about reading IT in nearly one sitting. If you knew my dad and how little he reads horror books, you'd know that was really something. 

For some reason, with any of the stories I tried, I felt that the characters weren't what I personally needed or liked. They weren't sympathetic for me. 

It doesn't mean there was anything wrong with them, but I've noticed something; having the privilege of being friends with some other horror writers- we all have this favorite bubble of brand of scary. Mine is more mythic. A place where terrible, horrible things happen but there are heroes, real heroes, as reminders that things must somehow be set right again. 

My husband rented The Dark Tower film for me, and while the movie does fall short of what it should stand as, the ideas of it were intriguing. And, I thought, hey, this right here sounds like a mythic horror. That's my home. I need to give that a try. So I hunted down the first book in the series, The Gunslinger. 

I had the chance to read it on my second overnight hospital stay for sleep observation with a face-hugger oxygen mask strapped to my head. I finished it in that evening. Not as impressive as my dad's binge-read, but seeing as how I wasn't sure anything King wrote was ever going to speak to me, this was nice. 

Roland is a more fallible kind of anti-hero than some of my favorites (like D) but still a mythic archetypal hero. The bad guy, the man in black, fits in that theme, too. But, around that skeleton, there are so many fleshed out characters and stories and creatures and scenery that I found myself really enjoying the novel. 

The language in it is beautiful. Even the gory parts of it. Or especially the gory parts, which will stick in your head long after you don't want them there anymore (like brains and blood shooting out like streamers...). It was a comfortable and imaginative read on a long night for me. 

So, yeah, I guess I'm kind of a King fan now. I'll definitely be looking at getting the other books in the Dark Tower series.

If you haven't seen the movie and have heard bad things about it, watch it anyway. If nothing else, Elba and McConaughey carry it really well and their scenes together are worth seeing. 

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