Its funny, I read Kings Florida beach novel during a brutally cold Minnesota winter storm. King owns a home in nearby Casey Key, where Im sure he did his own recovery and found more inspirations for this book. And while King clearly draws on the similarities of writing, this also differentiates this story from the many others where the main character is an author. As always King excels at making characters reactions to supernatural events feel believable. For me it made the first two thirds more enjoyable then the end of the book. Jack is a can-do, good to the last drop, young friend that falls into Edgers life in Duma Key. And Wireman is this unique, kindred spirit, that immediately connects with Edger and has wonderful little sayings throughout the story. In the end, this is another magnificent King ghost story, just one with a ghost ship and buried treasure. By the last page, youll feel like you know him as well as any friend you have, and as Wireman says, that muchacho, can only come from some seriously honest and talented writing.
DUMA KEY BY STEPHEN KING: Most Stephen King fans will admit that the last couple of novels by the international bestselling author, while selling well, have been somewhat lacking coming from the renowned horror writer; one might even go so far as to use the term mediocre, and dont get me started on Cell. Freemantle discovers a psychic ability in his work, painting items he should know nothing about, as well as the eventual power to paint events that come to fruition: whether it be the restoring of blindness, or the forced suicide of a serial killer. It seems Freemantle isnt the only person in its history to come to the island with a fragile mind and a special ability expressed through art. Regardless, Duma Key is a welcome return of the great horror writer, with an extra development of character and setting that King seems to have discovered in his later years, making this book one of his best, and one of my personal favorites.
I'm in the middle of the book, and I'm terrified to finish it, but I can't stop turning the pages... I heard one reviewer state that it was the best book King had ever written. One of King's self-indulgences in the past couple of decades has been his ability to use 1000 pages to write a 500 page story. In this narrative, I believe that King is trying to work through the aftermath of his own brokenness and how it changed him, most noticeably in his treatment of Bryan Smith. Was this Stephen King's best book?
However, Edgars good luck ran out one day when he had a brutal run in with a crane at a job site that cost him an arm, screwed up a leg, and cracked his skull. Since then Ive seen what happens when King tries his hand at a non-horror genre piece (Mr. Mercedes) so I no longer think that would have been a good idea. Overall, I found myself more intrigued this time by the supernatural aspects and less enamored of the story about Edgars recovery and development as a painter. In this one theres a point near the end where hell is gonna be unleashed at sunset which is coming fast, and yet Edgar feels thats the ideal time to sit the other characters down and tell them a long rambling story about what hes discovered. Theres also an extremely wicked irony at play here in that most of the stuff happening seems like a good thing rather than evil. Edgar is healing and hes creating amazing art, and he even uses his newfound abilities to do some good.
This must be King's most underrated book, and I've no idea why. Feels weird calling a book with 70k ratings underrated, but there you go.
In Duma Key Stephen King taps into extreme mid-life crisis and although he stirs it in a bubbling vat of macabre, the core, non-magical, element remains. Eager to heal both body and mind, Edgar opts in to a large beach house on the lightly populated Duma Key. This being Stephen King, the beach house and the island itself come with more than just sun, sand and surf. There are dark forces at work, and the paintings Freemantle is cranking out have a little extra in them. I did not think that Duma Key was one of his best works.
This book also has one of my favorite secondary characters ever to show up in a King novel. If you are one of those who have not felt the draw to read this book, or have never been able to finish it, I really wish you would. Finally, there are far too many tie-ins to the Dark Tower universe to name here (especially where the number 19 is concerned) but I feel the most important are the obvious ones. Roses pop up in a lot of Edgars paintings, and Edgar shares the same gift as Patrick, The Artist from the final book. At one point in the book, Edgar thinks of life as a wheel, and there's mention of his daughter hearing a woman talking inside a sink drain. For those of you hardcore Tower junkies, you can go to King's website (link below) and check out all the times 19 shows up, or you can read the bit I copied and pasted below. Edgar's artistic abilities seem to parallel those of Patrick Danville, especially the ability to remove things from reality by drawing and then erasing them. In one passage of the book, Edgar compares life to a wheel, in the sense of always coming around to the beginning, one of the main philosophies of the Dark Tower.
The first person narrator uses the word "febrile" on page 248; first time it's appeared in the book. On page 249, another character uses it in dialogue.
How jacked up is it that I'm going to say I find Stephen King comforting? He creates surreal, haunting art that eventually causes problems. Gets an art exhibition. Thank you again, Mr. King., for another great read, and for always being that warped, scary, "happy place" for me.
Flash forward to 2014, and a Goodreads challenge FINALLY got me to read Duma Key. By then my reading had started to shift back to contemporary and genre novels, and I realized that I was a complete idiot for worrying about what other people thought about my reading tastes. This year my friend Sadie announced that she wanted to host a Duma Key group read, and I immediately knew I wanted to take part. I knew that reading this book for the second time needed to happen. Revisiting Duma Key and Big Pink was exactly what I needed in my life right now. I know for sure now that this book is definitely in my list of top 5 Stephen King novels. The cover develops a lot more meaning after you read the story, but it doesn't look like a typical Stephen King novel, at least not typical horror, and I think there's something about either the cover or the synopsis that doesn't really draw people in. Even the Key and Big Pink itself are almost characters, and as the reader you find yourself wanting to be there. Fall in love with Duma Key. In the end we always wear out our worries.
Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men's magazines. In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine.