The Wind Through the Keyhole

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 May, 2012, 12:00am

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The Wind Through the Keyhole
by Stephen King (read by King)
Hodder & Stoughton (audiobook)

The Wind Through the Keyhole is an entertaining, if slightly unnerving, addition to Stephen King's long-running fantasy-western series, The Dark Tower. Our brooding hero, Roland Deschain - a combination of Clint Eastwood and Malcolm Reynolds from Joss Whedon's space-western TV series, Firefly - has his cohorts in tow: Jake Chambers, Eddie and Susannah Dean, and the weird creature Oy. Rather than battle sworn enemies, such as the man in black, this time they hear Roland tell a story - well, two stories, one wrapped up in the other. The first features Roland the novice gunslinger hunting a 'Skin Man': a shape-shifting human who can transform into murderous animals. The young Roland then tells a story to a young boy about another young boy who is on a quest to avenge his father's murder. It is strange, haunting stuff - occasionally a little impenetrable, but atmospheric. King reads himself in slightly halting fashion but his sonorous, twangy tones reflect the vastness of his fictional landscape. This is a story about the power stories have to soothe and, this being Stephen King, to terrify as well. Most importantly, it is about a narrative's power to impart wisdom through experiences beyond our ken. Meaty stuff.