Friday, November 25, 2016

Review: "Revival" by Stephen King

It has been about three years since I actually read a Stephen King novel. I listened to a few of his short stories and novels and audiobooks, some I had read before and some I had not, but I did not read them. And I think I made the right choice in reading his 2014 novel Revival, because while I don’t think it is his best work and it falls prey to some of his classic missteps, but it is surely his most original book since 11/22/63 and surely his darkest since Pet Semetary. I was told by one of my friends that this book was very Lovecraftian in nature, but I don’t really see that in execution. Tone for sure, but like all of his books it has a beating heart that was surely lacking from the cold and distant stories of H. P. Lovecraft. The book follows the life of Jamie Morton, born in 1955 or 1956, and his fateful connection with Reverend Charles Jacobs, a young and attractive pastor in Jamie’s small town. A few events entwine these two. The first is when he cures Jamie’s brother Conrad of his muteness using electricity. Soon after, Jacobs’ wife and son are killed in a freak car accident, and after a blasphemous sermon, he is banished from the town. The next time these two meet, Jamie is a travelling musician with a bad heroin habit. He finds the pastor on the carnival circuit. Jamie is cured of his addiction, but the black outs he is having force him to look into whatever door Jacobs has opened, and what dark path he is being drawn toward. What I found grating here was the more scientific stuff, which King never gets the hang of, at least for me, and when it takes the place of his more interesting human narrative, it acts as a rather impolite interruption. But this is still good stuff worth seeking out, with an ending a million times better than you’d expect. 

Rating: 4/5

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