Bag of Bones

Bag of Bones  by Stephen King

I would not want to live in Stephen’s King’s head. It must surely be one of the most warped places in this universe and any other. If, as some claim, that which we imagine comes into existence somewhere out there, then Stephen King is responsible for more fucked-up parts of the space-time continuum than anyone else. And I love him for it.

I haven’t read all of King’s books and am playing catch-up with his early stuff. But I have yet to read a poor story by this author, and Bag of Bones is no different. Set in Maine (just what in hell is going on in Maine?), the story follows the fortunes and misfortunes of novelist Michael Noonan, and his relationship with his country cabin named, strangely, Sara Laughs, which is located by a remote lakeside.

It is typical King fare, in that it has spectres and ESP and atmosphere and a twisting plot-line. The story belts along at a frantic pace as Noonan discovers the history of both the cabin and the locality. Along the way, we encounter a host of weird and wonderful characters, including Maine’s very own version of Mr Burns from the Simpsons.

My only criticism – and I can’t believe that I’m making one – is that there is a flaw in one element of the plot, not usually associated with King’s writing. It involves the selection of certain children by a certain individual for a certain purpose. Vague enough for you? Readers can look for the inconsistency and get back to me if you find it.

Yet the mistake does not detract from what is a cracking read. The imagery is emotive, as are the characters, especially the cute three years old Kyra Devore, who would melt the coldest heart (wouldn’t reach Hilary Clinton though as she has no heart, and how in hell did she get out from under Dorothy’s house?)

Stephen King’s prose is eloquent here. It is also poetic in places. He casually and seamlessly scatters classic one-liners and extremely humorous witticisms with almost gay abandon throughout. At times, during my reading, I stopped just so I could fully appreciate how good his writing is. For those of us who aspire to be a novelist, King is the master.

At this juncture, I wish to state that if Stephen King does not receive the Nobel prize for Literature, then there is no justice in this world, and the Scandinavians should shove that gold medallion up their spa-steamed asses.

I was dumbfounded when Bob Dylan was awarded said prize. Now don’t get me wrong, I like Dylan’s music, although I did go to see him in concert here in Ireland and to be honest the man can’t sing for shit. It sounded as if he had hemorrhoids and was sitting in a bath full of vinegar as Donald Trump massaged his trembling shoulders wearing nothing  but a lilac tutu.

Dylan is an excellent composer and lyricist, but he is not a man of literature. He is not a poet to a standard that would warrant the bequeathing of a Nobel prize upon him. I feel that presenting Dylan with such a prestigious award was an ill-conceived attempt to popularize the entire ceremony, a move to appeal to a broader audience and garner greater attention. But in my opinion it was an own goal.

Hemingway? Yes. Steinbeck? Yes. Llosa? Yes. Yeats? Yes. Dylan? Suck my Irish balls. No way. Give him a grammy, but for god’s sake someone take back that Nobel prize and give it to someone who deserves it. To think that Dylan received that award when Stephen King didn’t is a complete fucking travesty. The Maine National Guard should invade Sweden and whip those blonde fuckers with holly branches. Then again, Sweden is where the Berserkers came from, so they’re all mental there anyway and probably wouldn’t mind getting lashed so long as everyone is naked.

Getting back to Bag of Bones, if anyone wants an introduction to Stephen King then this novel is a good place to start. Then again, so is Cujo, or Desperation, or Salem’s Lot (one of my favourites), or Misery, or The Green Mile, or Dreamcatcher, or Christine, or Thinner, or Carrie, or The Shining, or Dr Sleep, or Mr Mercedes, or The Dome… see what I mean? How many authors can boast a back catalogue like that? He is simply beyond compare in his work, and yet those cold-titted Swedes still didn’t give him that damn prize. I’m becoming fixated here. I think that when I finish writing this I’m going to attack my local IKEA. And fuck ABBA. Give King the prize.

When someone writes a story which has a three year old girl speaking the line, ‘Take care of me, I’m just  a little guy.‘ you know that you’re in capable hands.

An important thing to remember (Nobel Committee, I’m speaking to you) about Stephen King is that he doesn’t just write supernatural stories. Some, like the aforementioned Misery or Cujo, are perfectly regular thrillers with ne’er a spook nor alien in sight. Yet, even if it is his ‘out there’ books that attract all the headlines, so what?

Yeats was said to be a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an organisation dedicated to magic and mysticism. Aleister Crowley, Author Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker were all also alleged members (many suspect that the Order was little more than a cover for the well-heeled and open-minded to engage in massive orgies). Yeats’ poetry embraced such themes as mysticism, yet he (rightly) received the Nobel. Supernatural thrillers are now mainstream. Vampire novels are also now mainstream, although I’m not suggesting that Stephenie Meyer get a Nobel. Ann Rice, however, is a different matter.

Perhaps, in future, if the Nobel Committee for Literature wishes to connect better with the masses, they should look to the likes of King, and leave musicians to their own noble devices. This must be the worst book review ever. I have hardly mentioned the book. I don’t care. I won’t spoil it by giving insights, when the real enjoyment is in the reading and the adventure that comes with it. Bag of Bones is a very good read.

Sult scale rating: 7 out of 10. Certainly recommended. Read it and weep, you shameless, Swedish music whores (I mean what next? Give Eminem the next one, why don’t you?).


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