The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah: 6 Paperback – 16 Feb 2012
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Song of Susannah continues directly from the almost literally cliff-hanging epilogue to Wolves of the Calla. As ever with such series, this is not the place to begin and new readers are strongly advised to start with volume one, The Gunslinger.
Meanwhile the penultimate instalment in the Dark Tower septet follows three interlocked storylines. Roland and Eddie in New England, where they undergo the firestorm of the books only major action set-piece, Jake and Father Callahan hot in pursuit of Susannah in New York, and Susannah herself, together with her alter ego Mia, struggling with probably the strangest pregnancy in all fiction. Her travails certainly make the New York horrors of Ira Levins Rosemarys Baby seem almost mundane. The novel is not complete in itself, but leads to a duel climax-cliffhanger leading directly into the final volume, The Dark Tower.
While the journey itself is compelling and the finale riveting, it is Stephen Kings imaginative boldness which make this episode so remarkable. Stories about storytelling have become increasingly common in modern fiction, with books within books and fictional authors being central to such metafictions as Christopher Priests The Affirmation and Jonathan Carrolls The Land of Laughs. King though takes the process further, writing himself into the saga, playing ingenious games with what the public knows of his life, even to his famous near fatal accident in 1999, and in a breathtaking achievement weaving the 34 year long writing of this series of books into its own fabric. The shocking sting in the final pages mean all bets are off for the epic final volume.--Gary Dalkin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
King's magnificent uberstory is finally complete... King's achievement is startling; his characters fresh... his plot sharply drawn... It is magic. (Daily Express on THE DARK TOWER)
Join the quest before it's too late (Independent on Sunday on SONG OF SUSANNAH)
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Top Customer Reviews
The strength of the narrative is how the characters have divided loyalties: to find Calvin Tower and persuade him to sell the lot containing the Rose to the 'Tet-corporation' and protect the Tower, or deal with the affair of the heart and find Susannah.
However, this conflict means the narrative is split three ways: there is little interaction between the groups and the story becomes three separate narratives, with Susannah, not surprisingly, the primary focus. The story mostly takes place our world in 1975 and 1999. Roland and Eddie leave the story around page 314, while Jake and Callahan really only have forty pages to themselves. Each of these three threads ends with a sense of anticipation for the final novel.
The story does carry the narrative forward - to a point. Song of Susannah answers some questions, most particularly, the surprising revelation of who the father of Susannah/Mia's baby is, and some remarkable characterisation of the internal conflict between the multiple personalities. Also, very impressive is the gradual transformation of Jake, becoming more like Roland following the death of Benny Stillman.
There are some disappointments within the story: one of the strengths of the earlier volumes was the gradual revelation through the retrospective view on the revolution and the fall of Gilead - there is none of that in this volume.Read more ›
Obviously 'Susannah's greatest weakness is the lack of a real beginning and end, but this is to be expected. The series is going to conclude with an epic novel in it's own right (book 7 - 'The Dark Tower'), which should finally give us all 'the answers' (many new questions are raised, of course, in 'Song of Susannah').
Certain negative reviews are still missing the point about this series. It truly is one huge long book split into seven parts. There isn't meant to be an arc within each part, the story is continuous. In fact, no review can really do this book justice as we won't feel it's full effect until we've finished the final chapter.
As for King himself appearing in the saga, people are too ready to criticise this as self-indulgence. This story IS his life, the backbone of his writing career, what almost all his other books are about (some moreso than others). You think of 'The Stand' and 'It', two of his most famous books, and they are pretty much side plots to 'The Dark Tower'. Through including himself in 'Song of Susannah' he has elevated 'The Dark Tower' into something far greater than just another novel written by Stephen King. Read it and you'll see...
It's made worse by the fact that the first four-five books are so outstanding. I had invested so much in these characters and their situation; to be reminded - in the most egotistical way - that the whole thing was just a fiction, was like a slap in the face.
Boo hoo, is all I can say. A tragic end to one of the most promising things I've read in years.
But for me, the device of the author appearing in his own story was just a step too far, I found it self-indulgent and a bit cringe-worthy. I appreciate the cleverness of what King was trying to do in weaving together the real and the fantasy worlds, but it was taken too far in this book and was offputting and distracting for me. I would have liked more of the 'world' of Gilead instead. For me the most engaging part of this series has been the well-told, suspenseful and emotion-filled adventure stories set in Roland's world.
I'm still looking forward to starting the final book. This has in many ways been a wonderful series, very unusual, ambitious and rich, and I have enjoyed the journey right from the first appearance of the lone gunslinger on the edge of the desert. However it has been flawed and frustrating in places, and many of those places were found in this book!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Felt a little like I was treading water in places, waiting to get to the final book. But well worth reading, and nice to have a slightly shorter read.Published 7 days ago by Andy Graham
Have read all of the Dark Tower books, but then I am a fan of Stephen King, great writerPublished 13 days ago by Irene
So far I would say this is my least favourite. It seemed to drag and to me felt padded out.Published 19 days ago by michael
I have to say out of all the books so far this was my least favourite. However I am now looking forward to finding out what happens in the end!Published 28 days ago by Kayleigh Rogers
I think this series is heading onto something of a slope now. As ever, King's imagination is vivid enough to take you places, but this book felt more like filler, sadly. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Adam Nicholls
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