Fiction Reviews

Bag of Bones

(1998) Stephen King, Pocket Books, US$7.99 (6.25), pbk, 733pp, ISBN 0-671-02607-0

Four years after the death of his wife, Mike Noonan revisits his summer home, Sara Laughs. There he hopes to remove his writer's block, but meets Mattie and Kyra Devore and becomes involved in the custody battle for Kyra, brought by her paternal grandfather, Max Devore. But the house, Sara Laughs, is the centre of a web which stretches back 100 years; a web which is exacting a terrible price in the present...

King still writes page-turning prose and lively characters and, among critics, the backlash against the backlash is in full swing; ie. they're finally praising him again, rather than slagging him off for being successful. I think Bag of Bones was quite good, but also that King is becoming a little self-conscious in his deprecating comments on writing. While there's always a possibility that writers identify too much with their creations, this is certainly not helped when the characters are writers too. I know the adage, "write what you know", but perhaps King should lay off creating writers for a while, and have his main protagonists in other occupations. That small quibble aside, I recommend this book.

Tony Chester

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