I always recommend Stephen King to my friends. King, to me, is one of our most critically underrated American storytellers, even though he is a massive commercial success.
I've read a lot of King's body of work, but, I have come to get more and more excited with what he's written at this point in his life. Unlike some popular authors, he really seems to try to constantly improve his skills as an author and storyteller, always trying new ground rather than resting on his laurels. This was yet another crisp, well constructed short story by a short story master. Maybe what I liked best his how, in this short space, he surprised me. Without being specific as to spoil it for other readers, I'll just point out that you cannot take anything for granted. He'll pull the rug out from under your feet ... then do it again. And you can imagine him laughing at his keyboard while writing it.
Pete Simmons is the heart of the story. Not unlike Steven Spielberg, King does the perspective from a child's view very well. He never talks down to Pete, yet also does not idealize him. He's a real kid, but King finds in him his moment to shine.
I cannot imagine missing a new King creation, no matter what form it is, but a short story? Never. This is HIS format, no modern popular author can compete with King on this.
I most definitely intend to recommend this book. Starting tonight on the second in the series.
I bought this book purely on a recommendation, unusual for me to try someone completely new. I am so pleased I did. I was not really even in the mood to read when I started it. So, it really pulled me in. I found myself caring about these characters because they felt real (even though it's fantasy!) They were multidimensional. Mostly, I thought Wells really brought Moon to life. She was quite careful to know him well enough to keep his personality quite consistent, regardless of the various changes and challenges that befell him.
I really liked the solitary scenes between Moon and Stone. That relationship, from the beginning where Stone seemed a desperate threat to when both were near fatally injured in different parts of the book, provided maybe the best opportunities to reveal Moon's internal conflicts. Stone became more than merely a father-figure, I think he represented a missing tableau or framework that Moon needed to be able to excavate from himself who he was ... and that had been such a mystery — not merely his race, but how culture shapes us all. Moon had none of that. Stone gave it back to him, so he could then find a place with others.
When, toward the end, Moon found out about Pearl's true intentions ... I thought it was, again, a superb continuity device to show the depth of Moon's mistrust (not of others, but of his own ability to understand himself).
Read the book! It will take you in to its completely believable environment. Yes, Wells created an entire world skillfully, and that's great. Moreso, she provided people that we can all see ourselves in, perhaps. That's meaningful. Yes, we read fiction for entertainment, distraction, diversion — a mental or emotional getaway. But, I wonder if what we really seek is ourselves in these pages.
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