Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Second glance, second chance
I wasn't totally sure how I felt about Mr. Mercedes after I read it last week so I read it again.
On a second read-through I still see a lot of the same problems that I noticed the first time around - a lack of characterization, some profound misunderstandings about how computers work, and so on.
Something else became more obvious to me, though, and made me realize why the book didn't resonate with me the way that King's novels usually do: there was no magic.
I mean this in both a literal and figurative sense - literally, there were no ghosts or demons or specters or any of the other otherworldly things that so frequently pop up in King's writing and I actually really missed that. I'm not big on reading mystery or crime novels and that's all that Mr. Mercedes is - a crime drama. Figuratively there was an authorial spark missing; something was off somewhere and the book was lacking in pathos - it spent a lot of time discussing tragedy without ever feeling tragic after the first chapter, which was the only part of the book that I really strongly connected with.
It still isn't a bad book, by any means, and it certainly isn't a dull book either. It's just not what I was looking for when I went looking for it and that's probably my own fault for typecasting King than it is King's fault for skipping some of his standard practices.
King, Stephen. Mr. Mercedes. Scribner. New York: New York. 2014.