Monday, 31 August 2015

Duma Key, reviewed by Liz Barnsley

It’s been interesting thinking about what to say here – I’ve read "Duma Key" several times now (and am inclined to do so again after this feature) and whilst I’ve always said that "The Stand" is my favourite King novel and still my no 1 read of all time, "Duma Key" has something. That X Factor something that keeps me coming back to it again and again.

Of course it has all the trademark King goodies – an atmosphere, a particular way of drawing you in, of making you look over your shoulder, of putting you off kilter and inclined to emotion. But "Duma Key" has something else that makes it THAT read for me, one I go back to over and over – and in doing this article I’ve had the opportunity to think it through.

It is the subtle dynamic of the characters – all of them. Particularly the relationship between Edgar and his daughters, more specifically his youngest daughter who has an ethereal and almost haunting quality to her that spoke to something inside me. Then there is  Elizabeth who is losing her mind, but in her moments of both clarity and fog has a compelling and frequently emotionally charged sense about her that is utterly fascinating. As for Wireman, well, he became and will always be one of my favourite fictional characters.

King plays with the emotion so well – the supernatural aspects are seamlessly interwoven into the plot and with "Duma Key" the characters particularly drive that, their actions and inactions having a ripple affect on the wider themes explored that is just pitch perfect.

Again and again within the story there are moments of pure terror, moments of pure emotional overload and a distinct sense of impending doom that seeps out from the pages and into your subconscious as you head to the final denouement.  The ending haunts me still, that feeling of love and loss, that “so near and yet so far” vibe. After living with the characters for the entirety of that tale, I was undone by the final inevitable solution and it has the same impact on me every time I read it. Every time.

We all read differently. Whoever said “No two persons ever read the same book” was bang on target. For ME "Duma Key" is the quintessential reason why I read. To feel, to wonder, to explore a world wider than my own and to come to the end of it with a greater knowledge of myself than I had before I went in, as aspects of plot and people speak to my inner demons or my inner angels.

In THIS readers opinion, along with "Lisey’s Story" and it’s truth about the marital state, "Duma Key" is Stephen King at his best. Many will disagree with me I’m sure, but that’s ok. That is why books work.


Mum to 2 small boys and 1 big girl. Avid devourer of books of all kinds. Reviews all in a heap on Liz Loves Books amongst other sites and top 500 UK Amazon reviewer. Main aim in life: Never let a good book pass me by. Twitter addict and book advocate with a slight tendency towards hysteria when sharing the literary love. Spends spare time working at Tesco with great people in a job that I adore. Often random.

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