Saturday, 8 September 2012

Dolores Claiborne: 5th - 8th Sep 2012

Of all of his books I've read so far, I think this one has most left me wondering where to start with the . I've heard good things, all spoiler-free, but didn't know what to expect. It wasn't this.

It took a few pages for me to find the rhythm of the monologue format, but once I got locked in, it was great. I was going to mention the Gerald's Game crossovers later, but I might as well do them all here. I wonder how much it was originally intended, but it seems they're, albeit in a satisfyingly understated way, companion pieces. The female protagonists, the circumstantially singular viewpoints (one tied to the plot, the other to the narrative format) and, of course, the eclipses tie them before we get to the actual crossover points, which I won't spoil - for a change. They're both very female centred novels and, considering each is dedicated to the women in his life, it seems borne of a very respectful motivation.

I'm not sure what I expected but, about two-thirds of the way through, I flipped the book over to look at the genre classification. I was hoping to, yet still surprised when I did, see the words "Fiction: Horror" there. Well, there hadn't been much, if any, horror yet, but there was still time. I knew the basics of the plot from the first three pages, but had this idea that there was going to be some huge, devastating twist or something. There wasn't. It sounds as though I'm underplaying and underwhelmed by the book, but I'm not. I really liked it.

The first question I asked myself when I finished and closed the book was, 'if it's not horror, then what is it?'
The first word that came to mind was 'haunted' and by extension, 'haunting.' I think that'll about do it. There is a lot of haunting going on, and the idea that, while some memories can be exorcised, there are some that must be carried and that's just the way it is. The more I think of the power of memories to haunt and grind on a soul, the more I feel the book sliding back along the genre scale toward horror. Just not quite.

I said in the opening post that I'd read King wrote Dolores with Kathy Bates in mind. I think I did a good enough job of keeping her out of mind while reading the book. Mainly, I think, because she's referred to as ugly a few times (admittedly by her antagonistic husband) and Kathy Bates isn't. I'm a shallow swine, ain't I?

I'm looking forward to seeing the film, hoping to appreciate the adaptation (reading a plot synopsis tells me there are major alterations) without being to heavily weighed by comparison and spending a couple of hours with Kathy.
Dolores Claiborne

1 comment:

  1. Dudeee, I found it really hard to write about this too- for no real reason really, except that it's difficult to write about it without giving anything away. But I'm glad you liked it too! Agree on the hauntingness of it, and also horror? Noooo. No. Nothing supernatural here at all (not that that's all horror is, but it's not psychologically scary either. Or scary really. Just awesome.)