Before I start, I feel it necessary that you know a couple of things about The Stand and me.
Firstly, The Stand is my favourite Stephen King book and I have read it now either five or six times. It is my favourite Stephen King book; not necessarily, in my opinion, his best book (the answer to that is a constant change for me); it isn’t his scariest book (that’s Pet Semetary); it’s not my favourite book (probably Matilda by Roald Dahl); and it’s not the best book I’ve ever read (a tough one, but you can’t be too far off with The Road by Cormac McCarthy). But it is my favourite Stephen King book, and one I return to again and again and my enjoyment is never diminished.
The other thing is that The Stand I am referring to is The Complete and Uncut edition; this edition was released in 1990, 12 years after the original book. I have not read the original release, but from what I can gather, the new edition contains material originally cut from the earlier edition as it was perceived too long at the time. Stephen King also updates the setting of the story from its original 1980 to 1990 along with some popular cultural references.
I first time I read The Stand was probably in 1995, I don’t remember the exact year but I should think it was then as my obsession with anything King had written was in by then in full flow. The Stand is a big novel, and not just in the number of pages; the scope of the book is huge with a large array of characters juggled together over the course of the book. The story itself is split into three distinctive parts – I think that if The Stand were to be published now, there would have been a temptation (not necessarily by King) to publish as a trilogy. I think that The Stand is King’s most ambitious book, a single volume that oversees the impact of a true pandemic and the inevitable decline of humanity that subsequently ensues…
But that isn’t just what The Stand is about. At the very start of the book a super-flu virus is leaked out to the world and starts to rapidly spread across America; within a month or two the population has been reduced by more than 99% and the story follows the survivors.
By now, if you have read my blog before, you will know that I am a huge Stephen King fan, and have been since a young age. I have been meaning to reread Desperation for several years but not got round to it. I have read Desperation once before when it was initially released in September 1996 – considering the amount of King’s novels I have reread over the years, a 19½ year gap is a long time. I couldn’t remember much from when I first read Desperation – only that the story centred on a psychopathic policeman in a small mid-US town that a number of people stumble upon. Because of this lack of recall, Desperation was like a new Stephen King book to me.
Desperation does feature a psychopathic cop, and although he is (very) important to the story, he is not who or what the story centres around. The novel is about the small group of people that encounter the policeman or are drawn into the small township of Desperation. Continue reading →
As Stephen King gets older his work output is not waning – if anything he is more prolific now than ever before. In both 2013 and 2014 he released two books in each year; in the last 6 years he has released 7 books, 2 of which run to close to 1000 pages. King’s books are also aging well – Under the Dome and 11/22/63 both examples of some of his best work. Revival is no exception in this great run of form. I will always be inclined to enjoy a new King novel, but I can always distinguish between the good ones and the really good ones. Revival starts off as the former but the ending is quite brilliant.
Revival is the story of a man, Jamie Morton, starting out when he is just a very young boy and following his life through to his sixties. It is the story of Jamie and his relationship with Charles Jacobs, a church minister in his home town, which he meets throughout his life at different junctions. Continue reading →