On average I read any where between twenty-five to thirty books a year. As I’ve stated before I love reading, hell I just love stories, and am constantly plowing through books. Reading as much as I do I go through a lot of different types of books. For example there are the books that sound interesting and are good reads, but are easily forgotten. Then there are some books where you’re asking yourself “why am I even reading this?” But mostly the books vary from good to great, and resonate on different levels. I have found though that every year I read three to four books that I love. Like to the point where I miss it when I put it down. That’s one of my favorite feelings in the world. When you straight up need a book. Last year books like Lexicon (by Max Barry), Paper Towns (by John Green), Finders Keepers (by Stephen King), and We Were Liars (by E. Lockheart) were the books I couldn’t live without. I’m happy to say six books into the year I have reached my first “I can’t live without reading this book” book.
Duma Key by Stephen King pretty much had me from the very start. If you recall a couple of months ago I did a review for his book Lisey’s Story, a book which happens to be Uncle Stevie’s favorite. When I read Lisey’s Story I went into it thinking “well if King loves it so much I’m definitely going to love it” and found myself struggling. There just seemed to be something missing from the narrative, and I don’t want to say I was disappointed, but I also wasn’t over the moon about the novel. With Duma Key I found everything I had been expecting to find in Lisey’s Story and more.
At this point I’ve read some where near forty Stephen King books so I’m pretty well versed in the universes he creates. For some reason Duma Key wasn’t one of the books that was on my radar. I knew it was out there and at some point I’d get to it, but I wasn’t thirsty for it. It wasn’t calling out to me. Well, until I was finishing up Chris Hardwick’s book, The Nerdist Way, where I felt myself yearning for some Stephen King. Going through Amazon and reading some reviews I quickly discovered that Duma Key was something I needed to read immediately. All the reviews I read were positive and even hinted that it was one of his more freighting books in awhile. Sign me up.
I finished the book a few days ago and since then I’ve been trying to figure out how to word my thoughts on it. On a simplistic level I loved it. Edgar Freemantle, our narrator, has a very welcoming voice and instantly draws you in and makes you feel like he’s talking specifically to you. Edgar is wonderfully fleshed out and his brokenness made him accessible to me in a very personal way. I’m not entirely sure how to describe it other then I just understood Edgar and felt for him. After losing his arm, his marriage, and ability to function like a normal person, Edgar, picks up and moves down to Florida and takes up painting. It’s a fresh start for a character who is super vulnerable upon his introduction.
Whilst in Florida, Edgar, forms a bond with a group of three characters. For those of you who are Dark Tower fans, like myself, it would be easy to classify Edgar, Wireman, Jack, and Elizabeth as ka-tet. As a matter of fact the more I think about Duma Key the more I feel it’s like a Dark Tower book without actually being a Dark Tower book. Yes most of King’s novels have Tower easter eggs, and Duma Key is no exception, but there just seemed to have that similar feel here. Almost if this story was knocking on the door. Not sure how else to explain it.
Any way, things aren’t always what they seem and Duma Key itself seems to be a wee bit haunted or cursed… or both. Edgar’s natural talent comes with a cost, and I’m being vague on purpose here because I don’t want to spoil the book. The fact of the matter is yes it does become creepy. I wouldn’t agree with some reviews I’ve read stating the first third of the book is slow. I really enjoyed the build up of Edgar’s character and those around him. I straight up loved Wireman. What a genuine and wonderful character he is to read. He has a voice that just jumps off the page.
Duma Key was a book I needed to visit often through out the course of the day because I needed to be there in Florida with these characters. Yes I need to see what was going to come next but I also wanted them to know they didn’t have to go through it alone. I know that probably sounds a little weird, but any time you read a great novel you feel like you’re immersed inside the story itself. That’s how I felt here. I wanted to be there with my friends as the story progressed. At it’s core Duma Key is a story about redemption and discovering self worth. There is some degree of heart break and freight but the novel is about forging bonds with yourself and with others. That even when you feel most alone that if you just open the door a crack maybe you’ll realize you’re not. But be careful because there are things looking to slip inside if you hold the door open long enough.