Thursday, January 31, 2008

Duma Key

Duma Key by Stephen King is a new 2008 release. The hardcover has 609 pages. King's writing has unquestionably been effected by his 1999 accident, but not necessarily in a bad way. He is one of the best writers out there. His ability to create fully realized characters while slowly allowing the story to unfold and the atmosphere to change is amazing. Humor comes through naturally in his writing. The dialog is realistic. Duma Key is an excellent book and I highly recommend it. Rating: 4.5

Synopsis from cover:

"No more than a dark pencil line on a blank page. A horizon line, maybe. But also a slot for blackness to pour through...

A terrible construction site accident takes Edgar Freemantle's right arm and scrambles his memory and his mind, leaving him with little but rage as he begins the ordeal of rehabilitation. A marriage that produced two lovely daughters suddenly ends, and Edgar begins to wish he hadn't survived the injuries that could have killed him. He wants out. His psychologist, Dr. Kamen, suggests a "geographic cure," a new life distant from the Twin Cities and the building business Edgar grew from scratch. And Kamen suggests something else.

"Edgar, does anything make you happy?"

"I used to sketch."

"Take it up again. You need hedges... hedges against the night."

Edgar leaves Minnesota for a rented house on Duma Key, a stunningly beautiful, eerily undeveloped splinter of the Florida coast. The sun setting into the Gulf of Mexico and the tidal rattling of shells on the beach call out to him, and Edgar draws. A visit from Ilse, the daughter he dotes on, starts his movement out of solitude. He meets a kindred spirit in Wireman, a man reluctant to reveal his own wounds, and then Elizabeth Eastlake, a sick old woman whose roots are tangled deep in Duma Key. Now Edgar paints, sometimes feverishly, his exploding talent both a wonder and a weapon. Many of his paintings have a power that cannot be controlled. When Elizabeth's past unfolds and the ghosts of her childhood begin to appear, the damage of which they are capable is truly devastating.
The tenacity of love, the perils of creativity, the mysteries of memory and the nature of the supernatural -- Stephen King gives us a novel as fascinating as it is gripping and terrifying."

"I guess it doesn't matter; gone is gone. And over is over. Sometimes that is a good thing."

"I could have asked her if she was serious, but the light down there was very good - those racked fluorescents - and I didn't have to."

" ' Well, listen to your Mama, Sunny Jim: if you've got a good lawyer, you can make her pay for being such a wimp.' Some hair had escaped from her Rehab Gestapo ponytail and she blew it back from her forehead. 'She ought to pay for it. Read my lips: None of this is your fault."
'She says I tried to choke her.'
'And if so, being choked by a one-armed invalid must have been a pants-wetting experience.' "

"Lin's temper and Ilse's tears weren't pleasant, but they were honest, and as familiar to me as the mole on Ilse's chin or the faint vertical frown-line, which in time would deepen into a groove, between Lin's eyes."

"He was a very tall, very black black man, with features carved so large they seemed unreal. His great staring eyeballs, ship's figurehead of a nose, and totemic lips were awe-inspiring. Xander Kamen looked like a monor god in a suit from Men's Warehouse."

"A hurt body and mind aren't just like a dictatorship; they are a dictatorship. There is no tyrant as merciless as pain, no despots so cruel as confusion. That my mind had been as badly hurt as my body was a thing I only came to realize once I was alone and all other voices dropped away."

"Maybe the quality of mercy isn't strained, there are millions of us who live and die by the idea, but... we have things like this waiting."

" 'They might all come...Think of it - a mob of Michiganders.'
He shrugged and flipped up his hands, indicating they were both the same to him. Pretty snooty for a guy from Nebraska."

"According to popular wisdom, a dog is a man's best friend, but I would vote for aspirin."

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