Sunday, March 25, 2007

Song of Susannah by Stephen King

Last year, I plowed through the first five books of Stephen King's longest work, the Dark Tower. Books 1-4 were pretty well written and relatively short for King, who is nearly as notorious for his brick-like tomes as his best-selling status. Book five, Wolves of Calla, was nearly 1000 pages, and, although it tied King's Dark Tower to some of his earlier works, it was a bit too large for the story it had to tell.

Enter Song of Susannah, book six in the series. It's the second shortest at about 550 pages, fitting, since it has the least amount of story to tell. The basic plot of the Dark Tower is that Roland the last gunslinger, Susannah and Eddie Dean, and a child, Jake, are questing toward the Dark Tower. Of the four main characters, Susannah is by far the least interesting, and since roughly half of Song of Susannah is focused on her and her conversations with her multiple personalities, it suffers. Wolves of the Calla was 900 pages, but it read easier than the 550 that comprise Song.

The most imnteresting aspect of the book is (spoiler warning) that King writes himself into the story. The character of Stephen King is the one from the 70s, complete with crippling addictions to drugs and alcohol. I thought the concept of an author writing himself into a book was interesting enough, but even more interesting is that King presents himself as just another pawn of the Tower. Lots of fans hated this aspect of the series, by it was by far the most interesting thing in Song. Here's to hoping The Dark Tower is a better conclusion than Song of Susannah was a segue.


Christopher said...

Just because it's long doesn't mean it's literature, B.

Carlton said...

It's not good, but at least it's long.