You want a ghost story? Okay, I’ll give you a ghost story: it was a dark and stormy night. A young man was reading a Stephen King novel, reached the end… And wasn’t disappointed. I know! Like it could happen, right?
But such is the case with Bag of Bones, one of the later offerings from Mr. King, and in my mind one of his best. It features a struggling author (surprising, I know) moving to a quiet Maine town (again, shocking) and uncovering a nefarious supernatural plot.
What is different is what makes this story stand out: a strong sense of character, and the relationship between the main character, a little girl, and her mother. What comes from it is an amazing tale that I have read several times over and never ceases to amaze me with it’s complexity and it’s heart. It is simply the best novel King has ever written, yet one of his most overlooked.
The other surprise, as stated above, is the end. While I adore King, I’m often left disappointed by his endings. He stated in On Writing that he rarely plans the end of his plots, and it shows. Too often is there a deux et machina that comes out of left field to end the novel, such as a cop spontaneously developing superpowers (Needful Things), time-eating shit monsters (The Langoliers) or hilariously contrived plot devices (Duma Key). This novel however seemed meticulously planned and the end (once revealed) is genuinely shocking… Not in a out-of-left-field way, in a ‘how did I not see that coming’ way. It begs to be read again so that you can see everything you missed the first time. This is good, and I wish King did it more.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Disagree? Let me know by rating yourselves on Goodreads, or commenting below!