Sunday, July 22, 2012

'The Wind Through the Keyhole'

"A person's never too old for stories.  Man and boy, girl and woman, never too old."  -Roland the Gunslinger

In 1974, when I was on the verge of adulthood, a book landed in front of me (Literally.  My sister threw it at me over the front seat of the car), a book which not only hogged my attention, but brought into my life an author who has helped me appreciate the craft of writing.  And what a wordsmith he is!

No matter how many book reviewers criticize Stephen King's work, there are many more who adore every word he writes.  True, not all of his books thrilled me ('Lisey's Story', 'Insomnia', to name very few), but the majority held me fast and never let me go.  And they still do.  I reread 'The Stand' every year or two, and I think that 'The Shining' is one of the best ghost stories ever written (but the Stanley Kubrick-directed film version didn't do it justice).

But it is King's masterpiece series, 'The Dark Tower', that has found a home on my bookshelves and a place in my heart.  If you haven't read it, do so (it's a seven-book series, and it's long, but well worth your time).  But if you have, you just might enjoy this welcome addition.

'The Wind Through the Keyhole' takes place between 'Wizard and Glass' and 'Wolves of the Calla'.  Roland the Gunslinger, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy the billy-bumbler are riding out a storm that suddenly appeared as they were continuing their journey along the Path of the Beam.  During their confinement, Roland tells a story of when he was a young gunslinger:  His mother has died and his role in her death has left the young man in torment.  News arrives that a 'skin man' (or shapechanger) has massacred many people in the town of Debaria.  Sent by his father to hunt it down, Roland befriends young Bill, a terrified boy who has not only lost his father to the skin man, but can also identify the murderer.  As they await the reappearance of the fearsome creature, Roland calms the boy by reciting a story from a book he loved when he was a boy, Magic Tales of the Eld.  It is the legend of Tim Stoutheart, a young hero who goes on a dangerous journey, but held steadfast by a strong love for his victimized mother.

Motherhood is the central theme here, and King's sensitivity shines throughout.  We learn more about Roland's troubled youth and get a glimpse of the man he will become.  The characters remain fresh and vital, even though the last Dark Tower book appeared in 2004.  It's as if King briefly left that world just to keep us informed of the ka-tet's latest adventures.

So, if you've been missing 'The Dark Tower', enter that fascinating world once again via a well-told tale that will stay with you long after you've finished it.


WritingGoddess said...

Thanks for the synopsis, Jacki. I have had this on my shelf for a few weeks now but haven't read it yet. I wasn't sure where it fit into the whole series. Now I ready to give it a try! Oh, I also read "A Dog's Purpose"--not at all the type I would usually pick up and read but I really, really enjoyed it. Thanks for the recommendation.

Jacki said...

You're so welcome! I'm happy you enjoyed "...Purpose". It made me cry. And you'll love "...Keyhole".