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Have You Read?: King devotee excited by new book

“Duma Key” by Stephen King

Stephen King published his first book, “Carrie,” the year I was born. (Yes, I am dating myself here.) In 1976, Brian DePalma adapted it for the screen. The movie tie-in cover featured Sissy Spacek in a prom dress, covered in blood. My Aunt Vicky would terrorize me by shoving it in my face and telling me that Carrie was going to get me if I didn’t do as she said. This was completely unnecessary, since I was a very well-behaved child.

One time when I was 4 years old, I was staying with my grandparents for the weekend. I slept in Aunt Vicky’s room as she was spending the evening at a friend’s house. In the middle of the night, I woke up to find that my nose was bleeding. Before I could get out of bed, I looked up and saw that stupid copy of “Carrie” sitting on a shelf. I was so petrified that I could only sit there with my bloody nose and cry until my grandma woke up and put me in bed with her.



I guess you could say this incident scarred me for life. It certainly shaped my taste in books. By the time I was in the third grade, I had developed a fascination with Stephen King, especially after reading his novella “The Mist” in an anthology of horror stories. I went through every one of his books in the public library and eagerly awaited the new ones. I watched all the films as they came out, even though I knew that the majority of them would be disappointments, except for maybe “Pet Sematary.” “The Shining” doesn’t count, since the book and film are completely different and stand on their own merits.

I can honestly say that I have read every book that King ever has published, as well as the majority of his short stories. It drives me crazy when people say he’s a hack. Not everyone can be a Shakespeare or a Dickens or a Steinbeck. Just because he specializes in horror doesn’t mean that he isn’t a great writer.



In July 2006, Tin House Magazine published a new short by King titled “Memory.” I couldn’t get my hands on the issue but did end up finding the story online. It is about a man named Edgar Freemantle, who suffers a horrible accident which leaves him with one arm and a severe form of aphasia, a loss of the ability to produce and/or comprehend language due to injury to certain areas of the brain. The memory loss frustrates him to such an extent that it causes him to fly into uncontrollable rages, causing him to stab his wife with a plastic knife and try to strangle her with his one good hand. She divorces him, and he becomes depressed and suicidal until his therapist suggests a change of scenery to clear his troubled mind.

Sounds interesting so far, right?

“Memory” is the basis for the first chapter of King’s newest book, “Duma Key.” When Neighbors Bookstore closed last month, one of the things that made me the saddest was the fact that I wouldn’t be able to pick up the new Stephen King right away. It sounds silly, but it’s true. I don’t drive, so I wouldn’t be able to get it at Borders in Carson City. Besides, going there would almost feel like a betrayal so soon after the store closed. I didn’t want to order it from Amazon.com for the same reason. I figured I would go get a library card and hope that they had it on the shelf soon.

I started a new job this past week, and I have been so busy and exhausted that I haven’t felt like doing much of anything. Then my boyfriend went to Reno a couple of days ago while I was at work and surprised me with a copy of “Duma Key.” How thoughtful! It’s the best gift I’ve gotten in a long time.

So, technically, this is not a book review since I am only on page 57. But I really like it so far, and I’m hating the fact that I have to put it down to write this.

– Lydia Chagolla is an avid reader who enjoys sharing her reviews with the community.


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