This book is strange. It brings the dark tower series to an end but it does so with an awareness that seems to call to King to take and try every possible narrative strangeness he can muster. It was visible in the Song of Susannah as well, but here it seems to poke at the edges more, trying things on, discarding them regardless of effectiveness and moving on to whatever whim strikes him next. It’s a great deal of fun to read because even when things seem to dawdle a bit, there is this paragraph or string of words that strikes out like a light, a sometimes nearly invisible exercise. King could see something coming to an end and here he seems to be trying to figure out where he is going next by using narrator-as-character as an excuse. By the end of it, I was convinced that it was a place I would likely enjoy very much.
The story ends and it is flawed, but lovely. It is not some great majestic piece of literature, but it is a curious and at times wonderful read that was worth exploring just to see something come together over 30 years and develop a consciousness unique to any other book I have ever read.
I started off disregarding King’s work. After this, he is still something of an enigma, but one I can definitely see the appeal in if the rest of his books garner this level of transparency with the author’s psyche. It’s like being told a story on the very rails of a human mind. There is no time for correction, the fear of losing threads is too strong. So you race, sprawling out words like literary exhaust, hoping that eventually your be able to tackle the damn thing that compels you to write and maybe find a moments peace.
Maybe I’m projecting. It doesn’t matter. Writers all share a common madness and after spending the last 60 days drenched in this world I can see it beautifully displayed in King.
“And will I tell you that these three lived happily ever after? I will not, for no one ever does. But there was happiness. And they did live.” ― Stephen King, The Dark Tower