Stephen King once again offers us a story with a famous author, Scott Landon, as the protagonist, only this time he’s dead. His wife, Lisey, still struggles to deal with his passing even as she fights to help her troubled sister immersed in a crisis. To top it all off, a deranged fan stalks Lisey in order to take any unfinished works her husband may have left floating around, and the fan does this as a favor to a misguided scholar hoping to cash in on Landon’s popularity. Though dead, Scott, sensing trouble for his wife’s future, left behind a series of articles that will help Lisey to save her sister and defeat the fan. These objects, of course, lead to a supernatural land full of beauties and evils.
I’ve read many, many Stephen King books, and I am a huge fan of much of his work. However, Lisey’s Story is probably the most self-indulgent and poorly executed novel I’ve ever read by the man. What I found charming about him in the past, the silly words and the quirky asides, now simply annoy me. He has often used writers as his main characters, but never has he so blatantly modeled the writer after himself, and never has he so unapologetically set the author up as a saintly demigod.
King once said, and I’m paraphrasing at best, that to include anything in a novel that is not necessary is a grave travesty. I’m afraid that the first 200 pages of this novel were a travesty indeed. I truly struggled with every fiber of my being against putting this book down. The good news is that once we got past the 200 mark, things started picking up and the story really began rolling, but that first half was like walking through mud as it comprised of nothing more than flashback after flashback that served little to no purpose. King easily could have streamlined this 509 behemoth down to 250. Easily.
I know there are a great deal of rabid King fans out there, and, hey, like I said, I’m a big fan myself. But we have to face facts, people-King’s last two novels have been duds. The man’s written over forty of them! I think it’s time for him to go out on top rather than continuing to spew out works of mediocrity.