Duma Key by Stephen King

Plot overview 

The following novel by Stephen King, first released in January 2008, presents the story of Edgar Freemantle who looses his arm and psychical balance in a construction site accident. Being irked by uncontrolled outbursts of rage, he decides to leave his previous life behind and start a new one. Edgar’s suicidal thoughts make his psychologist suggest him moving to an island called Duma Key and taking up drawing which has turned out to be Edgar’s hidden and unfulfilled hobby. After renting a house on the breathtaking and isolated island off the shore of Florida, which belongs to an elderly lady named Elisabeth Eastlake, Edgar has only one thing in his mind: to draw. Pictures and paintings created with obsessive passion are results of his talent which soon gets out of control. Edgar discovers that by means of his paintings, which come into being in a wild trance, he has an ability to influence the reality. After getting to know the stories of his landlady – Elisabeth and his new friend, woman’s caretaker – Wireman, Edgar starts to realize that he was called to the island by some unknown power. His works of art, which gain a lot of popularity and appreciation, seem to shout out the story which frightens Edgar, but at the same time makes him curious and willing to discover it. His curiosity is finally satisfied when he realizes the power of his paintings and is familiarized with a detailed story of Elisabeth’s life. But then it turns out to be too late to turn back, too late to escape. He needs to fight against great evil which has woken up to spread destruction after being once defeated by a young Elisabeth.

Below you can watch a video on which Stephen King comments on his novel.

Review

I admit that at the beginning I was a bit sceptical about Stephen King’s novels. However, since I started reading them I have been getting more and more interested in the works of this author. ‘Duma Key’ is definitely the best King’s novel I have read so far. There is a large number of reasons which made me form such an opinion.

First of all, the plot. It will not be enough to say that it is interesting. It is so engrossing that it makes you be completely absorbed and transfered to the world of the novel. The story develops gradually. First, the reader is given the background, some introductory information which enables to understand characters and their ways of thinking. At the beginning nothing unusual seems to be involved in the story. A man who has experienced a terrible accident, after which he undergoes a lot of difficulties connected with his health condition and social life, decides to take part in a hopeless fight to get his life back. He aims to cure his body struggling with pain and free his emotional side from uncontrolled attacks of anger. But as the pages go by, the action becomes more and more complicated, mysterious and supernatural, but in moderation. That is a good point of this novel. Even if the plot incorporates some supernatural phenomena, the way the author presents them is very reliable and the reader may actually consider them to be true. And what is more, the plot is scary and gives the reader goose bumps, which is what a good horror novel ought to do.

Second of all, I just love the characters that King has created. Each of the main heroes has some story to be uncovered, some skeletons in the cupboard to be revealed. This makes the reader want to know more and more about the characters, get into their lives, know their secrets and understand their behavior.

Third of all, the language used by the author is both sophisticated and comprehensible. It is not too simple and requires some amount of concentration while reading, but at the same time it is understandable enough not to make the reader get lost. Moreover, King is the master of creating a proper atmosphere by means of the language. The words he uses, the way of describing places, people and expressing emotions… It is all on a very high level. The author makes the reader feel what characters feel, see what characters see, and basically have the impression of being inside the action, participate in all events.

Finally, what I also appreciate about this novel is the message it carries. I am aware that the interpretation of books is always something personal, depending on readers and their points of view, however, I would like to share my opinion on this matter. For me the  novel is not only about the fight between good and evil, between the men and supernatural, powerful forces. The book emphasizes the strength of one’s will-power and willingness to fight with their own weaknesses and limitations. It shows that no matter how low one falls, there is always a way up. What is more, the importance of friendship, love and responsibility for others is underlined.

Summing up, the book is definitely a perfect way to forget the world around and get lost in another, mysterious, intriguing and scary reality which will evoke diverse kinds of emotion in the reader.

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