51bE7-Wac9LI’ve been glaring at this screen metaphorically for a few days now, although literally for less than five minutes tops. But like, when you know the review is sitting there, unwritten, and you even know why, and it’s not a simple reason like a broken site or a boring reason like you’ve been too busy or too lazy, but instead it’s a really good reason like you know exactly what about the book you want to praise, but to do so would be a massive spoiler? That’s glare-worthy, is my point.

Because Stephen King’s latest book, Revival, does (successfully!) something I’ve never seen attempted before. But it does it at such a slow build that you’re most of the way through the story before you know what sub-genre the story is properly classified in. And I’m quite convinced that knowing in advance would kill the impact, because everything going on in the early days is a fantastic story in its own right[1], and if you’re waiting for the Big Thing, spinning your hand irritatedly and it keeps not happening, you’d end up hating the whole book, without any kind of justification.

So, y’know, it’s cool. Go read it, if you like Stephen King. If you don’t, you’re possibly wrong about that, but this is not the book I would use to convince you. Either way, first comment is a mood-destroying spoiler for the book in which I reveal the genre. So, that’s a warning about that.

[1] Family drama, religious drama, rock and roll, and carnies, for starters. King just gets small towns, and the 1950s/60s, and tragedy. Or else I’ve been tricked into thinking he has, since to be fair I’ve never really experienced any of those things myself. (Well, at least not on a brutal scale, in the latter case.)

One thought on “Revival

  1. Chris Post author

    The genre is Lovecraftian horror, which I’ve only seen attempted in short stories. You’ll have a guy writing in his journal or sending letters to a friend, and it starts out normal, but with something shadowy around the edges, and it builds over 30 or so pages , and by the end everything is skewed and sideways and there’s a big terrifying climax, or else maybe if it’s the kind of story where things go even more wrong, it ends on a declamatory note about what the author intends, and then maybe a short excerpt about a missing person or the respondent not having heard back in a while, and it’s all well and good as a story, but this is a novel comprising the author’s lifetime, and sure the recipe for the horror is there from the start, but the events are spread out over a much longer span of time.

    Now that I say I’ve never seen that attempted, I wonder if there are examples out there. More to the point, I wonder if they’re good. Because I would eat that shit up.


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