“Solid character delineation and terrifying insight. In addition to being able to scare the reader breathless, King says a tremendous amount about writing itself. We delight in his virtuosity.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
I’ve never been a great fan of the horror genre in general(except RL Stine’s Goosebumps), and supernatural/fantasy horror in particular. But after hearing so many amazing things about Stephen King, I just had to give him a try. And I think I picked the perfect novel for that. An experiment gone right beyond expectations. Because this novel is not about ghosts or spirits or voodoo or other such phenomenon ; this is a top quality psychological thriller which sends more chills and thrills down your spine than any standard horror movie/book.
An author develops and maintains your interest in a Novel through the plot and characters and this was going to be a huge challenge in Misery which only had 2 characters confined to one location. It is due to the sheer mastery in the art of story telling that King succeeds spectacularly. Annie Wilkes is one of the scariest characters I’ve ever read about who is merciless, torturous and plain demented. Her concept of reality, right and wrong is unaffected by the rules of the world. So, when she finds her favourite author half dead after a car crash in the middle of nowhere, she finds it natural to nurse him back to health so that she can make him write a novel exclusively for her.
Coming to Paul Sheldon, the successful author who is now writing to save his life while suffering excruciating torture from his ‘number one fan’. King handles him brilliantly and so vividly that at times I was screaming in my head, “Please stop! I don’t want to hear his innermost thoughts” (obviously I didn’t want him to stop). You have to read it to understand the depths to which King goes to write something so incredible. The best part was those imaginary commentaries by sports broadcasters going on in his mind when he was crawling towards something (“this lad Paul is showing some great heart but I think this may be a bridge too far”)
There are lots of gruesome scenes including chopping off a limb here and there so be prepared for a blood bath. And of course there are a lot of pills and injections. But as I said earlier, it is totally realistic without any hint of supernatural. The only reason I’ve not given it a perfect 5 out of 5 is that I actually skip/speed-read through a few paragraphs which I thought weren’t needed. Otherwise, a perfect perfect novel which is a lesson in writing and story telling.
Added 6th November 2017