Book Review: "Under the Dome"

Is it just me, or has Stephen King gotten grosser in his old(er) age?

I confess that it's been a long time since I read one of his books (Pet Sematary? The Tommyknockers?) but having recently completed the 18,000 pages* of his latest novel, Under the Dome, I confess that I was shocked - shocked, I tell you - by the author's use of graphic language and imagery.

Yeah, I know, he's a master of the horror/supernatural novel and that genre in its modern incarnation seemingly requires language that oversteps all the bounds of propriety (a lesson that Edgar Allan Poe obviously never mastered, poor hack). But I don't recall that The Stand, for example, succumbed to such obvious gross-for-grossness-sake as Under the Dome.

When you couple that with characters that are more one-dimensional than usual (especially those unfailingly über-hypocritical creatures known as Christians) and throw in some plot gaps that defy rationalization, you end up with a book that will make you regret the time you invested in it.

It's a shame, too, because the basic premise was promising. A transparent impermeable dome materializes over a small town in Maine. The sudden isolation of the population and the mysterious source and properties of the dome should have made for a more sophisticated and riveting novel, but King just can't seem to pull it off, giving us instead the junior high treatment, and re-purposing all of his usual conventions (kids with prophetic dreams and visions...who saw that coming?). After all is said and done, I just can't recommend it.

*I'm not exaggerating, because I read the whole darned thing on my iPhone's Kindle application. The Whole. Darned. Thing.

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This page contains a single entry by Eric published on January 12, 2010 9:43 PM.

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