Oyster Boy Review 16  
  Winter 2002
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» Levee 67


From a Buick 8

Kevin McGowin

I'm glad King and Scribner chose to bring out this book this fall instead of the 1,000-plus page fifth installment of the tiresome Dark Tower pseudo-Tolkein fantasy series, which has been going downhill since at least its second volume and will not be reviewed in these pages next year, because I'm not gonna read it. But I say "I'm glad" because the present book is a damn good read, a psychological thriller instead of a silly horror novel like Christine, which people who are into King will immediately expect because this one too is concerned with an evil automobile. But this time, it's not one that's chasing people around and killing them—the book is about the strange and often disconcerting aspects of memory and the way a story changes the facts of reality with its re-telling, and about the synchronicities that relocate real human lives. The characterizations are perhaps slightly inconsistent unless one suspends disbelief, which you may as well, since after all, you're not in it to write a dissertation on Thomas Hardy; but King's fame has allowed him the luxury to mature as a writer and extend his range. He's a "horror" writer no more, at least not in the genre sense. True, I don't think much of his efforts to re-write the Ring cycle or whatever, but so long as he's not trying too hard for profundity, I think his work since Bag of Bones, in addition to the best of the work before it (see my other King review for details) qualifies him as both a Major American Writer in a Literary sense as well as one who can still keep you turning pages. Hey—this book, while not a masterpiece, gets the job done and it's fun. It's all in what you bring to it.