“We fool ourselves so much we could do it for a living.”
A double-decker beast of a book, Duma Key by Stephen King is a multi-layered work of art that deserves a special mention when horror is in question.
Edgar Freemantle, a self-made millionaire, has an idyllic life that takes a cruel turn when his truck is crushed under a crane. He loses his right arm, faces memory loss and visual distortion, and eventually loses his wife when he unknowingly tries to strangle her, owing to his unplanned bursts of anger.
Taking the advice of his psychologist, Edgar takes a geographical; a yearlong vacation to heal himself, to an Island in Florida called Duma Key. There he digs out his long-lost hobby, painting. A few pages forward, Edgar is living vicariously through his art and is creating extraordinary work in the blink of an eye.
Introducing Jerome Wireman, who is a character so convent to love for his own tragic past and lively way of carrying the day, and letting the day carry him. He is true to his newly established friendship with his neighbour Edgar, and their bonding intensifies quickly. Jerome plays an important part in the plot and grows upon the reader as the pages fly by.
While Edgar paints his day away, he begins to feel phantom sensations in his arm that is no more there. Engulfed by this feeling, he paints psychic images that alter both present and the future, opening new possibilities, fears, and hidden secrets.
Edgar’s house on Duma Key, The Big Pink, seems to be whispering secrets, the strokes of his brush seems to be telling him stories that were buried 80 years back, and suddenly dolls begin to speak their own lies and tales.
The beginning of the book is filled with tragedy which fails to leave till the very end, but it also has an eerie ghostly sensation pressed within the pages of it, which keeps the reader quickly turning them for more. A novel as thick as this is bound to get wearisome at certain points, but Duma Key is not one such book. It remains fast-paced throughout, always revealing something new which keeps the story going forward seamlessly. Stephen King’s writing style deserves an applaud for being casual, and yet enriching. Certain witty elements placed in the story seals the deal perfectly.
The multiple interwoven stories, and subjects ranging from deadly ship paintings to talking dolls, suicides and scary houses and everything in between, makes it a wholesome ghostly read to be enjoyed in the dead of the night.
Highly recommended, you will not regret investing time in this book and in fact, you will be looking for more of King’s work to devour!
“On Duma Key, broken people seem to be special people. When they cease being broken, they cease being special.”
Other recommended books pertaining to horror fiction-
- IT by Stephen King
- The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
- House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski