Duma Key

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 November, 2008, 12:00am

by Stephen King Hodder & Stoughton, HK$120

It has been a weird few years for Stephen King. When he was scaring the world with wonderful novels such as Carrie, Misery and Pet Sematary, no one beyond his millions of fans wanted to know. Then slowly, he began to be taken seriously. King being King, he responded with Cell, an old-school shocker about killer mobile phones, only to surprise us again with Lisey's Story, his most tender and mature novel yet. Duma Key can be described as a knockout hybrid of these two. The main plot stars Edgar Freemantle, a successful building contractor whose life (physical, emotional and even spiritual) has been ripped to shreds by an accident. Repairing to Duma Key in Florida, Edgar tries to come to terms with the loss of an arm and his wife. When his youngest daughter suggests he takes up painting, Edgar seems to have discovered his true calling - until, that is, his paintings come over all Dorian Grey and take on lives of their own. Duma Key is both a successful chiller and a moving, personal meditation on the power of art to confront pain: in 1999, King almost lost his life when he was hit by a van. The old King may be dead. Long live the King.