Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Book 12/60: The Stand by Stephen King

And not just any The Stand, but the complete and uncut The Stand. The The Stand which is five-hundred pages longer than the originally-published The Stand, which was something like six-hundred pages long.

A little over a year ago, a couple of friends got me to read King's post-apocalyptic western/fantasy/sci-fi epic The Dark Tower. I'd never read King, but I think I assumed he was strictly a writer of disturbing horror stories (It, Carrie, and things like that came to my mind) I trusted these friends, however, and dove into DT. It was incredible. I loved it. I actually find myself wanting to read it again, and it hasn't even been a year since I finished the seven-book epic. I discovered that, first and foremost, King is a great storyteller with an incredible imagination and a knack for writing great characters. And that his stories often contained uncannily disturbing images, and that he was very good at describing these dark and disturbing scenes, but the storytelling was always at the forefront.

As I confessed my enjoyment of DT, friend and trusted literary critic Dave-o told me I needed to check out The Stand at some point, not only because it was one of King's better novels, but also because of the epic good-vs-evil struggle that was the heart of the story. All I knew of the story was from commercials for the made-for-TV movie: there is a super-flu, and it kills millions of people. That fit pretty well into my It-writing view of Stephen King, so I figured it was yet another grotesque horror novel that I needed to avoid.

So, after a bit of a disappointment with Nick Hornby's book, I decided I wanted something I knew would be quality, something I could really sink my teeth into as I read it. Some "meat". And something long, too.

The 1100-page complete and uncut The Stand ought to fit that bill perfectly.

Don't expect my closing thoughts on this one any time soon.

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