Sunday, July 27, 2014
It's only on this most recent reading of Lisey's Story that I'm beginning to realize how much of Stephen King's post-2000 fiction is more about loss than it is about horror or darkness.
Don't get me wrong, the darkness loves him and he still dances well with it, but we're not really seeing darker halves or werewolves or vampires in King stories nowadays - we're seeing people nearly destroyed by the loss of a loved one, or a timeframe, or a job, or a limb and trying to struggle back to the light and dragging us with them.
This feeling kept booming through me when I was reading 11/22/63 - Jake's loss of Sadie is very thoroughly expressed and totally heartrending - but it really rolled to the forefront of my mind while following Little Lisey through the pages as she loses one person after another and suffers and suffers and suffers for it.
I'm not the sanest booby in the hatch and I'm well aware that I have dependency issues so maybe I shouldn't read books like this, but it's not going to stop me. Lisey's Story makes magic out of mourning: it breathes in the sweet small jokes and touches that fill up a good relationship and exhales them as poison when the sun goes down.
In the afterword King reminds his readers that he's a writer of fiction and not to think that Lisey is supposed to be an analogue of Tabitha King, and I don't believe she is. But I do believe that King loves his wife, maybe a little harder than is healthy, and revels in that love. Only someone deeply in love can fear loss and communicate that jagged, mourning word "alone" as well as King does in Lisey's Story.
So kiss your baby ... babyluv and try not to dance too much in the darkness.
King, Stephen. Lisey's Story. Scribner. New York: New York. 2006.