Is it too late to talk about Duma Key again? [possible spoilers]

Because I just got around to it and burned through it in two days and that old thread is old!

It scared the crap out of me in the middle. In that bit where

he goes downstairs to get something to eat and the guy is STANDING IN HIS KITCHEN

the UPS man rang the doorbell and I quite literally almost peed my pants. There is nothing figurative about it; pee almost hit panty in that split second. The hairs stood up on my arms and I was eeked the fuck out.

But then we got to the end, to the big set piece finale, and… eh. Which is a usual problem with King - when you don’t know what the monster is, it’s scary. When you do, it’s like a Buffy episode - it’s a ____ demon, it’s scared of __ and __, you kill it by ____ing it. This one did work a lot better than most of his endgames, though - I think I really liked the device about
sitting in the dark holding the flashlight, and you don’t have another hand so you can’t tell if you’re spilling it or not, and your hand is getting numb…

but it wasn’t what I’d call climactic and horrifying.

People complain about how he’s written umpteen books now about “man has horrible accident and what happens next”, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. (At least this guy wasn’t a writer!) I think it’s possible we may look back and see this as a great body of “post physical trauma” work, although most of the recent books have kind of sucked. I think this has really been the best one in a while, although there was some good stuff in Lisey’s Smucking Story (but not enough to carry a book.) I mean, it must have been good - I couldn’t put it down for love nor money, and I finished it in less than eight hours or so. There went my day off.

On the whole, thumbs up. Anybody else just finish the thing?

I couldn’t finish Lisey’s Story but I did finish Duma Key and rather liked it. My favorite bit was the shells clacking under Big Pink. I’ll never look at shells the same way again, much like I don’t look at rafts, ironing machines, cars, typewriters, birds, snow, bathtubs, cats, dogs, etc. in the same way after King’s finished with them.

I think there were some plot holes, but I’m not picky enough to re-read and enumerate them. But one in particular was when this one guy-ghost-whatever was supposedly killed in the hero’s house but he turned up at the end and had to be killed again. (Apologies for not remembering names.

Well, I was okay with that - I mean, was he really “there” there anyway? I assumed even at the time that he might have been

just temporarily disembodied - that what Edgar was seeing/feeling weren’t their REAL bodies, of which not much at all would be left after 80 years in the Gulf of Mexico - having shoes and a belt attack you isn’t really very terrifying. So the not-really-bodies She (which was way better before she had a name - the first picture he drew of Her was scary, the one Elizabeth had drawn was terrifying, but then she was a china doll that bites you…) was animating could be driven off but not killed as long as She was still active.

I did get a little ticked off that there was no closure with Jack. WTF? He goes with you into Terrorland, drives off dead people with a harpoon bolt in his bare hands, and all you can say is that he’s at FSU? I really liked the guy!

Oh, and I did think it was deliciously creepy that

the heron was her eyes all along - when you first saw it it was a little disturbing and it was pointed out that all herons look like they’re looking for witches to burn, but then you get used to it and affectionate towards it…

I thought the heavy-handedness with the foreshadowing was actually kind of cool and appropriate - I rolled my eyes when one of the art guys was described as a “Dorian Grey”, but I kind of enjoyed that device. I was kind of sad, though, because all through the book I was expecting in the past for the

1930 Labor Day Hurricane to arrive

but it didn’t. Missed opportunity.

I really, really liked it. In fact, I think Wireman is my favorite Stephen King character, but having had a few months to reflect, I think that the ending, with its biting china figurine in her new I Dream of Jeanie home was ludicrous and truly dumb.

I would be so much more scared if King would write a way less literal ghost story. Atmosphere and unspecified creepiness just work better for me. YMMV, naturally.


In that case, have you read Softspoken by Lucius Shepard?

No, but I will now. Thanks, AuntiePam, I checked it out on Goodreads and it looks exactly like my sort of creepy.

Also, why the hell would she have taken that guy? That’s totally inconsistent.

[spoiler]She takes daughters. That’s the POINT. The ship is called the Persephone. She might kill a man, but everything we know about her suggests that what she keeps is daughters. Why the hell is there a dead husband in the kitchen, then?

Also, the character of the nanny needed either more or less attention paid. The addition of the scene in her perspective fighting the dead in the water just muddied her character - it kind of made her one of those “magical Negroes” King tends to throw in, when before I liked that she was essentially seen through the eyes of a child. She did what she did because she was the only mother the children knew, but it didn’t end up coming through right.[/spoiler]

I finished this last night, and I have mixed feelings.

I liked the initial story. I think he should have kept it more to the weirdness of the phantom limb and its interaction with the powerful painting. As almost everyone else has said (I just read the old thread too), getting down to who Perse is, and what the rules for fighting her are, blows the creepiness away.

Personally, it seems to me that this book connects best with Rose Madder. How much do you want to bet that Perse inspired that painting, and if not originally from that world, spent a good chunk of time there? She reminds me a lot of the woman in the painting, as a matter of fact, though much more deliberately malevolent. Though I am one of the three people who liked that book, so YMMV.

The thing that was worst was it became very clear I shouldn’t get too attached to a certain character, and that really let the air out of the second half or so. I was simultaneously feeling the lack of tension and uncertainty, and mad at the book for doing something so mean. Althoughat the end, when Edgar says, "I remember Ilse Freemantle, who weighed six pounds nine ounces when she was born,that still ripped my heart out. I’m all teared up typing that, in fact. Stupid mommy hormones.

The other thing that bugged me was the slip ups about Edgar’s missing arm. There were at least a couple times when he did something with both hands, at a time, in a situation, and presented in a fashion that did not indicate it was meant to be a supernatural occurrence. For instance, he puts Elizabeth’s hair in a ponytail, then rests his palms on either side of her head.

But I do love Wireman. I want to see him and Eddie Dean hang out. Oh, and that reminds me of another thing that irked me:King cheats us about Wireman. That bullshit about “he’s always alive to me in his sayings” is a poor excuse for jerking us around with present-tense references to a dead character.

It’s funny, I’d listened to *Heart Shaped Box *on audiobook and liked it, and immediately thought of it when they found Noveen, but had no idea it was written by King’s son till five minutes ago. Neat.

I don’t think those were slip ups. He could feel his arm before the supernatural stuff started. In his mind, he was using both hands. Remember all the times he meant to pick something up with the missing hand?
I just finished the book lastnight, and it’s my favorite King since “Bag of Bones.”