Monday, November 13, 2006

Maybe King is a real writer

So now the NYT Book Review weighs in on Lisey's Story, and pronounces it real literature.

Boo’ya Moon is “this world turned inside-out like a pocket,” and it’s as real as J. M. Barrie’s Never-Never Land, L. Frank Baum’s Oz or the Grimms’ forest. Like those places, Boo’ya Moon arises from childhood longings for the things not provided by one’s parents or guardians, and it’s as forbidding as it is wonderful. You come away from “Lisey’s Story” convinced of the existence of King’s fantastic realm and of something else rarer still in fiction, a long, happy marriage.

Other reviewers like Janet Maslin downplay the horror and fantasy elements in the book to concentrate on the love story, but this reviewer, Jim Windolf, finds both aspects equally worthy of interest. In Windolf's view, the fantastic aspects don't detract from the detailed portrait of the married couple. The two worlds blend in King's fiction, strenghtening it.

Windolf shows how writers like Michael Chabon and Dave Eggers, nostalgic for the schlock (including King) they grew up on, have become the new literary gatekeepers right under Harold Bloom's nose. And they have let King come on in.

It struck me also, in reading the NYT Book Review yesterday, that many children's books blend fantasy and realism in similar ways. I kept reading the reviews, thinking "that sounds interesting," then finding out it was "for ages 12 and up." Are children's books more daring that adult fiction now?

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