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Customer Review

on 28 October 2004
Stephen King is approaching the end of the path leading to the Dark Tower. This sixth and last but one volume is phenomenal. It is the story of Susannah, who has been hijacked by some primitive spirit, who has been impregnated with a child during a rape in some stone circle, when she moves towards her delivery. It has to happen in New York in 1999. Susannah is thus taken by force, or nearly, to the Big Apple that looks like a big blood pie. The other members of her gunslinger ka-tet are following, plus the priest from Salem's Lot. And all of them are back in New York or in Maine, at different times and at in different places with different missions. Mia, the evil spirit, leads a game that she does not control. Her leadership is thus vain and blind. She is the prey and the prisoner of the Crimson King who wants her child, not really hers in fact, to achieve his destructive project against the beams that support the Dark Tower and the whole world. But the book is phenomenal because it brings together a great number of lines from other books by Stephen King. It is a real multiple crossroads and roundabout of a good dozen of his previous novels. This gives some perspective to his whole writing history. So many books have dealt with the theme of the bad guy who is trying to destroy the world. Evil versus good. But the good side is no choirboy : they are also able, the gunslingers, to kill innocent people if necessary. They are some kind of levelling machine that flattens everything and everyone that stands in their way. There is no stopping them. The chase is irresistible. Stephen King seems to want to give the key to his whole writing career and work. But Stephen King also goes one iota further in his obsession about the relationship between himself and his characters. He becomes an essential character in the book itself. He is the one who has started the whole shindick a long time ago and then he does not know any more if he is the creator of his characters or if he is only the receiver of news from beyond sent by his characters who, once propelled on the road to the Dark Tower, have assumed their existence the way they wanted. In other words he compares himself with the god of this multiple layer universe of his, this Gan who created the world from his navel. He too creates his characters and their adventures from his navel, not from his brain, so he says at least. But this is a fundamental question about creative activities : what creates what ? The artist creates his art, or art creates the artist ? It is impossible to answer such a question because it goes far beyond itself and brings forward the further question : what makes a creative act creative ? Is it because it reflects the world and makes us think about it ? Is it because it goes beyond all limits and taboos coming from the world and drowns us in this permanent tresspassing ambition ? Is it because he follows his deepest unconscious, his deepest impulses and bombards us with the bullets of the dark side of our souls and bodies ? What we can say is that King is a genius as for suspending our disbelief and that is an essential element about his success. He wraps the most incredible events in such a fascinating packaging that we cannot believe what we see and yet we cannot disbelive it. We are mesmerized by the style, by the story-telling and we navigate from one place to another, from one time to the next or the previous one, from one soul to all the others, from one being to the most human and humane or monstrous and frightening creatures without ever being sated, asking for more and more and more, enjoying the pleasure we find in believing, at least for a while, what is unbelievable from the very start. And this journey in the virtual world of the darkest mind in the universe is the supreme experience that makes us reach the deepest truth about humanity. Truth is never what we see because it can only be what we do not perceive and do not want to accept. Truth is a limitless dream beyond the obvious that does not require any faith but only the eyes and the desire to see the invisible. Truth is necessarily beyond any stimulus our senses can give us, at least our five basic senses, because we forgot there is a sixth one : imagination. King forces us to cultivate the garden of our imagination like no one ellse has ever done it, even Shakespeare.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
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