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Stephen King Blogging: Insomnia

by Rob on February 13, 2006

On the Stephen King read-a-thon front, I just finished Insomnia. Meh. I wouldn’t say that it was by any stretch of the imagination a bad book. In fact, it was a fascinating book that tackled some pretty weighty issues, with use of some creative metaphysics and mythology. But the extremely slow pacing and character development for the first three hundred pages or so never seemed really justified or necessary to me, particularly since the climax was, to me at least, a bit anticlimactic. I admired the way he established such a seemingly mundane, real-life scenario–an old man suffering from insomnia–and wove supernatural and fantastical elements into it, and I found the protagonist, Ralph, to be a wonderfully drawn, complex character. And his mission in the story is clearly, directly tied to The Dark Tower, but it just seemed like this Dark Tower revelation could have been housed in a story perhaps more suited to it. I wouldn’t say the weaving of The Dark Tower elements into the story weren’t organic. But at the same time, we never really understood why Ralph of all people, was the one chosen for this mission for The Dark Tower, and the actual mission doesn’t become apparent until so late in the story one wonders why King didn’t place more focus on this element earlier on, instead of having the reader wade through hundreds of pages of meandering, whereas in Black House, for example, it was clear why Jack Sawyer was chosen from the start and the mission was clear, from the start. Stephen King is a phenomenal writer, though, and the book was definitely worth reading, thanks to the character development, some interesting experimentation of sorts with certain concepts and set pieces, and the writing. But I would have rather had a story about Patrick Danville.

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