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Get a good night's sleep
on 20 February 2012
Ralph Roberts is one of the Derry Old Crocks. He's recently lost his wife and now he's suffering from acute insomnia. When you're sat at your front window at 3 in the morning, you can see some wierd stuff going on in the streets. But don't forget that this is Derry... "weird" barely scratches the surface.
I dunno - perhaps I'm suffering from an excess of Stephen King or something. I //have// read about ten of his novels, back-to-back so maybe it's unsurprising that it's starting to drag a little. This is "classic King" and that may be part of the problem - after a while aspects of his writing begin to get rather samey. The same stock characters (they never smile ruefully or sardonically, do they? They always "grin") the same folksy charm, the same underlying supernatural menace and the same excessive padding. God the padding! This isn't a long book by King's standards - not in the least - but by anyone else's it is certainly "well appointed" and it takes King four or five pages to say what many other authors would convey in a paragraph; by the last quarter of "Insomnia" I was aching for him to shut up with the waffle already and get on with the story. Coming to it fresh, that was often a positive thing and his novels are deeply absorbing in their detail, making this is great holiday reading. But after having soldiered through half a shelf-full of King previously, it can be a bit of a grind.
Don't get me wrong - by "classic King" I really do mean that his books are well written, enjoyable, and - yes - absorbing. His characters are sympathetic and the familiar Derry setting makes this a comfortable read. The plot, as always, is a bit off-the-wall if you're not used to his ideas (little bald doctors stealing the Derry residents' psychic auras, forsooth) but there's a nice meshing with previous (and later) Derry novels.
I think I will have to take a short break from King to recharge my batteries as there's quite a few more of his novels that I have yet to read or re-read. For any committed King fan, this is well recommended. If you're new to his novels, it'll make interesting reading. But whoever you are, moderate doses are just what the little bald doctors ordered