This is the fourth book of Stephen king, which fell into my hands. I appreciated «The Shining», was a play on «The Doom of Salem», barely made it to the final «It». Why do people read one book after another, why is it so popular? I have not found answers to these questions until you took over the «The Stand». By the way, if you Google «best books of Stephen king», that almost every list will be in the first place. So what caused people’s love?
In «The Stand» story cannot be called complicated or sophisticated. If you haven’t figured on the cover, this novel in the beloved genre of postapokalipsis. Military accidentally unleashing a modified strain of influenza. Because it is artificially enhanced, 99.4% of the population lacks immunity to fight it. Survives only a measly 0.6% of the world population. In the novel, however, the author pays attention to what is happening in the USA. Other countries are mentioned briefly.
In the postapocalyptic important thing is not how everyone dies. The main thing is that the remaining people do then. This fantasy allows authors to reveal the very essence of human nature. Put characters in front of an unsolvable problem, put them in an extreme situation — and they have no choice as to expand the depth of the characters. King understands this, he is ‘a master storyteller’, as written on the covers of his books. And uses the force of his talent.
In «The Stand» is not the only main character. The whole plot of the book rests on the standoff (pun intended) of good and evil. God and the devil. Morality and animal origin. Against all odds, the epidemic is experiencing a 108-year old Abigail, is extremely religious and believes that God speaks to her. Like it or not the reader must decide for himself, because the author takes a detached stance of the narrator. And even occasionally inserts reflections on the theme “religion — the opium of the people” and how dangerous religious fanatics.
The side of good in the form of Abigail confronts full of humor and forces the young man in cowboy boots, named Randall Flagg. It has many names: the Dark Man, the Tall Man, the Walkin’ Dude, Richard Frye, Richard Freemantle. As can be seen, first and last name form a combination of R. F. While reading I got a little lost in one place, when from nowhere the character started to restore order. So usually keep in mind that if someone starts to do evil under a new name, IT would be him. Randall Flagg.
And Abigail and Flagg have inexplicable from a rational point of view abilities. People all over America dream them. One of the survivors has a kind old lady sitting on the porch of the house. Others are attracted to Flagg. Ultimately everyone makes a choice and goes to Tom, who decided to entrust their fate. I have caused a lot of irritation decrepitude and the weakness of the representatives of the party of good as if good once and so have easy. The author masterfully plays on the nerves, appointing the representative of God on earth a woman of 108 years, and in the embodiment of the devil is cheerful, strong and cheerful man in his Prime.
From about 1438 pages a good thousand, if not more, the author spend on the description and development of characters. Heroes that have fallen on the side of good, described in detail than “villains”. In the beginning and middle of the book, I periodically revisit the list of characters on Wikipedia. When the page exceeds a thousand, I have a sneaking idea that the author will be no place for a finals and the preparation for it. The ending of «The Stand» and looks a bit constrained, and I even want to use the expression deus ex machina..
Despite this weak spot, despite the huge amount of text, king finally explained to me why his base of fans arrive every year, and the books are still popular. When I took «The Stand», I was lying down with flu and temperature, and listened to the delirious beginning of the audiobook. Needless to say that when it hurts to move eyes and head split into a thousand pieces, it is difficult in fact to keep the attention on anything? However, king managed to intrigue me. When I realized that I have not modified the flu virus, and was able to read a paper book, it was hard to put it down. Seriously, the last time to night I was reading probably Octavia Butler, and she did not remember when. And I didn’t understand how the same author can write such long things drag on, as “It” and is exciting attention as the act of «The Stand»?
It’s simple. King is indeed a master storyteller. The book cover doesn’t lie. He can take any topic and write text in his trademark style, and the masses will drool with delight. The only question remains is whether you, the reader, this topic? If Yes, then bingo, you nailed it. If not, then these tens of thousands of pages will be attracted, as infinite Central Russia outside the train. In the case of “It” I’m not intrigued nor the theme of growing up or the theme of children’s friendship through the years. After the finale I was left in slight confusion. In “opposition” to the author is the same the style is the same, but the theme is completely different, the one that interests me — human nature in extreme conditions.
So I brought myself a rule how to choose books by Stephen king. If I am interested in this topic from other authors worth reading. If my reflections on this subject seem to be a waste of time, even the talent of the king as a simple, but enthralling writer, is not compensated. In the Shining he takes the family and dissect it under the microscope of his skill. A difficult childhood father’s, wooden toys, gifted boy, full of life mom, the Elevator, which goes by itself, and all this in a closed, inaccessible from outside the empty hotel? I’m all for that. “A lot of Salem” went all around me, I didn’t catch what the author’s message and point of the book at all. Vampires? Well, OK. About “It” I wrote, well, a couple of those from this book for me trigger. Don’t want to write about them here.
The second reason for the popularity of the king I see his concept of the universe. In his books the world is generally good. If not evil. Evil spoils everything, from it all troubles. Dad beats daughter? This is because it lives Evil. It. If you kill Him, dad will be good. I’m oversimplifying, but here’s the thing. In «The Stand» this idea is elevated to the absolute. There are good guys and bad (the bad guys). Yes, like in American movies. The good guys can make mistakes, but ultimately corrected. The good guys get the girl household. Women from the king, by the way, play the role of a medieval Princess. They did that to pull the scythe out of the tower, and wait until the Prince will climb up on it and they will be released. The bad guys are hogging all the oil painting and to get rid of them. If you get rid of them, everything will be fine.
Books Stephen king is such a world of Harry Potter for adults. With guts, blood and violence. When you want to get under the covers, overlaid with chocolate (chips), to open the book and really believe that if not for the bad guys (Voldemort, Flagg), then everything would be OK. Moreover, if we remove the bad guys, everything will be OK. We understand that in life things are not so simple. In life there are no bad and no good. But just let me stay a couple of nights under the covers with the king in an embrace, and again I’m ready to rush into the breach to gnaw a piece in this life.