I finally finished reading Lisey’s Story by Stephen King. Like many of King’s books, it started off pretty slowly. I thought it was a literary novel for the first hundred pages, which I read mostly during bathroom breaks. But the horror finally came out and it got considerably better. Yesterday I gave it the recognition of taking it out of the bathroom and reading it on the couch while football played in the background. In the end I enjoyed it quite a bit, although I felt it could have been written to move at a nearly blistering pace if he’d cut out 20 to 25 thousand words.
One reason I’m posting about the book here is because the main character, Lisey, is the wife of a big-time writer. Her husband, the writer Scott, is a prominent character throughout. Although Scott and his experiences are certainly fictional, I believe that many of the attitudes he holds about writing and about critics are the same as held by Stephen King. If so, King does not have a high opinion of critics or of the academics who study literary works. He has a much higher opinion of the actual readers.
I also believe that “Scott’s” working habits, writing with rock and roll or country and western music playing, for example, probably reflect the actual habits of King. Scott also does a considerable amount of drinking, which I know from various sources has been an issue with King himself over the years. I also suspect that the description of Lisey’s life with Scott probably parallels that of King’s real life wife, Tabitha. For these reasons alone the book might be worth reading. But once you get past the slowly paced opening there is some good writing and some genuine suspense.