The most obvious question for a book like this is, ‘Does it need to be this long?’ The short answer is maybe.
1088 pgs., $35 (hardcover)
Stephen King has a knack for corralling people into claustrophobic situations. We have seen it in a small building in The Mist, in a train in Wizard and the Glass, in a bedroom in Gerald’s Game and also in some of his short stories. Under the Dome takes this premise and runs a marathon of a book with it.
The most obvious question for a book like this is, ‘Does it need to be this long?’ The short answer is maybe. The success of the book hinges on whether or not you accept the premise that this isn’t about a dome that is stopping people from leaving town, but instead about the possible evils and moral triumph of men in a terrible situation. If you can do that, then you are in for a rollercoaster of a book. If you can’t, then it is best to leave this for other, more interested readers. If you need a reason to buy this book let it be guilty pleasure. I say this with seriousness because King’s usual eloquence has been replaced with a more popular pulp style he is often stereotyped having. That’s not to say the writing isn’t good, it is. King’s writing at times just becomes bogged down under his literary device while waiting for something to come along and progress the plot.
The only real complaint I have with the book is that the ending was a bit contrived. King’s usual grasp of inner psychology does not come into play here, therefore the end reads like the writing of a man backed into a corner. Regardless I give the book three out of four stars. The writing is solid, the characters true to themselves and their actions, and at no point does Hamlet get on a pirate ship to sail home. | Jesse Gernigin