Friday 13 August 2010

Under the Dome

Just finished reading Stephen King's recent epic, Under the Dome. It's the first novel of his I've been able to finish for several years. I gave up on Cell after two tries, getting as far as 100 pages into it. Under the Dome, though, was a rollicking ride from beginning to end, with characters that really engaged me, the good, the bad and the changeable. It's a long book, but unlike Dream-Catcher, never for one page seemed to have been padded out. There's a lot of detail in it, and character backgrounds, but they all seem relevant to the story and create a rounded, filled-in novel that is epic in feel, even though it takes place over only a few days in a very small locality. King really excelled himself, in particular, with the darker characters - and with the quirkier ones. Indeed, one of the quirkiest, The Chef, is responsible for perhaps the worst act in the entire book, even though he doesn't do it out of malice strangely enough. A complex, fascinating book.

King often puts references in his book to characters or events in others he has written. In this, though, I noticed one character referred to (though he never appears in it) from the novels of Lee Child: the formidable Jack Reacher. (I love Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels and usually take one away with me each year as one of my main holiday reads.)

I won't say any more about this book, as I don't want to let slip any spoilers (all too easy!), except to add that this is King back on top form.


  1. I'm glad that you said it's the first King novel you've finished in years. Yesterday, my husband picked this novel up for me to read (it'll be a birthday present soon) and it's the first one of his I've read in a long time. The only reason why I wanted it was because he said on some talk show that he started writing it in the 70s. I like his earlier works. So I thought he was worth revisiting.

  2. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It was purely by chance I even bought it, as I have been more than disappointed by those I have tried to read in recent years. The last I laboured through was Dream-Catcher, and I really don't know how I managed to get to the end! Under the Dome was easy, though. A page turner if ever there was one. I also noticed that King acknowledged the assistance of a professional editor, who helped to keep unnecessary baggage in the novel down - something I think has been sadly lacking in recent years. Perhaps he's realised he really does need this kind of pruning.