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    Culture slut geek the girl's Avatar
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    Lisey's Story by Stephen King

    I just got an e-mail informing me that Stephen King's latest effort, Lisey's Story, is being shipped to my house as we speak. Yay! It's not supposed to be published until next Tuesday, October 24th, and it's still on pre-order only on Amazon. Nevertheless, for some reason I'll be able to start reading it as soon as I get home from work tomorrow night. Tiny Swedish online bookstore outdoes Mighty Big Amazon - who would have thought?

    Anyway, since I know I am far from the only Constant Reader here, I thought I'd dedicate this thread to general and/or specific chatter about Lisey's Story. Expections, thoughts, ideas... anything even vaguely related to the book really. For those of you who aren't familiar with the story yet, here's the blurb:

    "Following King's triumphant return to the world of gory horror in Cell, the bestselling author proves he's still the master of supernatural suspense in this minimally bloody but disturbing and sorrowful love story set in rural Maine. Lisey's husband, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Scott Landon, has been dead for two years at the book's start, but his presence is felt on every page. Lisey hears him so often in her head that when her catatonic sister, Amanda, begins speaking to her with Scott's voice, she finds it not so much unbelievable as inevitable. Soon she's following a trail of clues that lead her to Scott's horrifying childhood and the eerie world called Boo'ya Moon, all while trying to help Amanda and avoid a murderous stalker. Both a metaphor for coming to terms with grief and a self-referencing parable of the writer's craft, this novel answers the question King posed 25 years ago in his tale "The Reach": yes, the dead do love."

    A couple of comments: First of all, I'm ridiculously excited about this one on so many different levels. It seems like a return to the more epic, literary King of The Stand and Bag of Bones, and after several fun but admittedly lightweight novels I think we're all ready for something a bit more substantial. Secondly, the story seems very reminiscent of my all-time favourite King novel, Bag of Bones, so much so that I'm hoping I'll be able to step out of my identity as a die-hard Bag of Bones aficionado so that I can give Lisey's Story a fair chance. Who knows, perhaps it will even compare favourably to Bag of Bones; time - and a few sleepless nights - will tell.

    I'll report back as soon as I get my filthy paws on my precious copy.
    Last edited by geek the girl; 10-17-2006 at 01:52 PM.
    "There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more" (Morrissey)

  2. #2
    Wonky snarkmistress Lucy's Avatar
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    Ooh, that does sound good! I loved Bag of Bones and would adore another King book in that vein. Can't wait to hear your review.
    It's such a fine line between stupid, and clever. -- David St. Hubbins

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    Livin' the life Dinahann's Avatar
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    Geek, I should've known you'd beat me to the punch. I was in a bookstore two weeks ago and was so disappointed to find the book didn't come out until the 24th. I didn't pre-order it because I was a little disappointed with The Cell - well, a lot disappointed-, but now that it's almost here I find myself excited agan. Ah, well, hope springs eternal. (or is it love?) Do give us your impressions as you go along, if you can do so without spoiling it. What the heck, just put it in spoiler tags and do it anyway!
    Well I was born in a small town
    And I can breathe in a small town
    Gonna die in this small town
    And that's prob'ly where they'll bury me

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    Culture slut geek the girl's Avatar
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    Oh shoot! I just remembered that I've made plans to go out for dinner with a friend after work today, which means I won't be able to start Lisey's Story until tomorrow night. Would it be completely anti-social of me to cancel? Kidding. I'll make a weekend out of it, and report back - WITH spoiler tags, of course.

    On a different note: Stephen King will be in the U.K. in mid-November as, it turns out, will I! So I'd made plans to go to a book signing, do my best Annie Wilkes impersonation ("I'm your number one fan"...) and hopefully get to say a few words to him. (As in: "Um, I, um, hi Stevie!" ) Except he'll be signing books way out in Essex on Friday, which is the only day I'll be able to catch him as I won't be in London until late Thursday evening. I'd have to go by train to get to the signing, and I've no earthly idea where Lakeside Shopping Centre in Thurrock is, so we'll see just how much of a fan I'll turn out to be. It all depends on how much I'll enjoy the book. I'll keep you posted on this matter too.

    ETA: Any British FORTers out there who'd like to help me out?
    Last edited by geek the girl; 10-18-2006 at 03:07 AM.
    "There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more" (Morrissey)

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    Culture slut geek the girl's Avatar
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    Just thought I'd let my fellow Constant Readers know that I'm progressing quite nicely with Lisey's Story, and that a full review should be up here within the next couple of days.

    So, today is the big day. Has anyone pre-ordered, or will you be visiting your local bookstores later on today? In any case, all I can say this: you're in for a real treat! I've loved exploring the world of Lisey and Scott Landon, and feel slightly sad about finishing the book (which I undoubtedly will tonight) and leaving them behind. I'll save the more in-depth commentary for my review.
    "There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more" (Morrissey)

  6. #6
    Livin' the life Dinahann's Avatar
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    I'm heading to Hastings this morning to get my husband a book for his birthday tomorrow, and I'm planning to pick up Lisey's Story while I'm there. I've had a couple of minor surgeries done in the last month, and I still have another week off work. I can't think of a better way to end a long - albeit somewhat painful - vacation than to bundle up and sit out on my front porch with Lisey's Story and a cup of hot chocolate.

    GTG, it sounds like you are liking the book so far. No disappointment yet? I hope it ends well.
    Well I was born in a small town
    And I can breathe in a small town
    Gonna die in this small town
    And that's prob'ly where they'll bury me

  7. #7
    Culture slut geek the girl's Avatar
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    Quick review, since my lunch break is almost up. Lisey's Story is inarguably Stephen King's finest, most epic work in years - I'd say it's easily his best since 1998's Bag of Bones. The characterization is just amazing: after 500+ pages, Lisey Landon felt like a close friend. In terms of theme and overall feel, I'd place it right inbetween Bag of Bones and "Secret Window, Secret Garden". The act of writing as both cure and cause for madness is the central theme of the novel, but first and foremost, Lisey's Story is a love story, and a beautiful one at that. Although there are some supernatural elements, it is far from trademark King in the sense that most of the action that may be described as supernatural can just as easily be explained by the fragility of the human psyche. Or at least I think so. Once everyone else is done (yes, I'm looking at YOU, Dinahann, Lucy and all you other Constant Readers out there! ), I'd love to hear your thoughts on the supernatural vs. psychology matter.

    A few other thoughts and observations: In the blurb, Lisey's Story is described as "perhaps King's most personal novel to date", and in the afterword, King thanks Tabitha and her sisters for inspiring him to write the novel. He does point of that Tabby isn't Lisey, but there are several similarities between Scott and Lisey Landon and a certain famous writer and his spouse. Most notably
    Click to see Spoiler:
    the whole Nashville University subplot. Is it just me, or does Scott's near-fatal accident bring to mind King's own brush with death in 2000? Also - and I'm very well aware that I might be overthinking this - the man who's been in the car crash who Lisey and Scott encounter in Boo'ya Moon inevitably made me think of King's accident
    .

    Oh, and there are several nods to older works, such as It (
    Click to see Spoiler:
    Early on in the novel - I think in the hospital right after Scott has been spot - a delirious/bound for Boo'ya Moon Scott shouts out "Hiyo smucking Silver" or something to that effect. That has to be a reference to Bill's bike in It, right?)
    and - surprise! - Bag of Bones
    Click to see Spoiler:
    (the Mike Noonan book Lisey's sister is listening to in her car)
    but given the epic nature of the novel, I'd be very surprised if there aren't at least a few Dark Tower hints as well. DT aficionados, come forward and help me decipher!

    One last thing, and I'll put this in spoiler tags just in case; it isn't a spoiler per se, but it does involve key plot points:
    Click to see Spoiler:
    an Amazon reviewer has pointed out that Scott's upbringing and back story brings to mind that of an actual modern day writer. Any idea who that writer may be? I know that James Ellroy had a very dark childhood filled with violence, but somehow I don't think it's him.


    Okay then, one more thing:
    Click to see Spoiler:
    what did you all think of the language? I must admit it took me a while to get into Scott's very specific and unusual "language pool" but after a couple of hundred pages, I was won over and now feel that the fact that King created this whole linguistic universe for Scott and Lisey only makes the love story more poignant.
    "There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more" (Morrissey)

  8. #8
    FORT Fogey famita's Avatar
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    OK-I love SK-he is one of my ultimate favorites. I did enjoy Cell. I will be buying this for my son's Christmas present-he has all of SK's books. And I'll be able to read it after Christmas. I will be popping in to see what you all think.

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    Livin' the life Dinahann's Avatar
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    GTG! I finished Lisey's Story last night; I stayed up and read when I should've gone to sleep, but I couldn't resist the siren call of Boo'ya Moon.
    Lisey's Story is inarguably Stephen King's finest, most epic work in years - I'd say it's easily his best since 1998's Bag of Bones.
    So you liked it, huh? I still think the DT series is the best body of work for SK. Then again, I was enthralled by the ending (to the DT series) and I know most folks weren't. But back to Lisey's Story. Some thoughts…

    Everything was secondary to
    Click to see Spoiler:
    the relationship between Scott and Lisey. I wonder if SK set out to write the novel that way - if it just came into being on its own or if he cultivated it purposely? I’m still as enthralled with his style of writing as ever, he knows how to engage the reader in to the story. I loved the way the story went from the present to the past, and how she gradually came to remember what was “beyond the purple.”

    After the book ended I found myself wondering just what Lisey did besides be married to Scott. In the beginning she was a waitress with hopes of taking a few college courses, and he was already a published writer. I forget, did she meet him at a party? Anyway, she didn't go with him on all his book signings or lectures and she didn't have a job, and they didn't have children, so how did she fill her days? I wonder if this is a male wish fulfillment, to have your woman always there for you, with nothing to do on her own? This I think is one of King’s failings, one that he has been accused of before. His women characters are sometimes seen as props for the men. I think King loves women, but what is Scott’s impetus for cultivating Lisey if he’s a published writer and Lisey is just a waitress in a coffee shop? Lisey was described as a “slow reader” but Scott defended her to his friends, saying she was smart. Of course we know that Scott is haunted by the bad-gunky, but how would he know Lisey could provide him refuge in the beginning? Just a thought.


    Although there are some supernatural elements, it is far from trademark King in the sense that most of the action that may be described as supernatural can just as easily be explained by the fragility of the human psyche. Or at least I think so.
    In the beginning I found myself wondering if
    Click to see Spoiler:
    the world that Scott went to was real or a refuge from the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father. I thought of his escapes as flipping (like in The Talisman, the book that was cowritten by King and Peter Straub). The world was never really described except peripherally, but SK does make it clear that Scott's body is gone when he goes to the other world.

    I also didn't really get a good grasp on what the long-boy was, but I don't think it was King's intention to highlight the supernatural elements as much as it was to explain the relationship between Scott and Lisey. I would’ve like to have had some description of “the laughers,” or for the characters to have spent a little more time in the other world, but then this novel might’ve turned into another It.

    Overall I really enjoyed Lisey’s Story. I’m a big fan, and the little things I’ve noted didn’t detract from my pleasure in reading it. I do like the more mature King, and I get a sense of now much he loves his wife and family from the way he crafted this book. I’m a sentimental person, and King is too. For me, it was a
    Click to see Spoiler:
    Bool
    .
    Well I was born in a small town
    And I can breathe in a small town
    Gonna die in this small town
    And that's prob'ly where they'll bury me

  10. #10
    Culture slut geek the girl's Avatar
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    It's been a few days now since I finished Lisey's Story, but I still find myself thinking about it on a daily basis, and each time I'm drawn back into Lisey's and Scott's world, my conviction of just how great a story this is grows stronger. I'll definitely re-read it in a year or so, to see if, like the classic King of It, The Stand, and Bag of Bones, Lisey's Story will stand the test of time. I'm almost positive that it will.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dinahann;2125380;
    I do like the more mature King, and I get a sense of now much he loves his wife and family from the way he crafted this book. I’m a sentimental person, and King is too. For me, it was a
    Click to see Spoiler:
    Bool
    .


    I'm a sentimental person, too: the first thing I did after finishing Lisey's Story was to walk over to my fiancé and give him a big hug. I was very touched by how King's love for his wife seeps through each page of the novel. That love had a very poignant and real effect on me.

    As for the objections you had regarding
    Click to see Spoiler:
    Lisey's relationship to Scott, I thought the same thing. What the heck did she DO with her life, other than being Scott's "gal-pal"? Me, I'd be bored out of my mind stuck in that big old isolated house with no children, job, hobbies, or real identity beyond that as a wife. I found the fact that King felt the need to point out that Lisey was a slow reader a bit insulting, too, and what's up with teaming up Joyce Carol Oates with a bunch of romance novelists? Not that there's anything wrong with romance novels, of course - heck, I read them and enjoy them on a regular basis, but it seemed to me that the purpose of naming Scott's and Lisey's favourite writers was to illustrate a fundamenal difference in taste and approach to literature. To me, Oates is right up there with Margaret Atwood and the rest of Scott's favourite writers. No biggie, but as a massive Oates fan, it confused me a bit.

    Still, I felt that the character of Lisey was very well-crafted as a whole, and as much as the "stand by your man" thing irritated me - after all, I am a feminist - it didn't stop me from enjoying the story. Perhaps some time, King will have the courage to portray a woman writer, thus blending two of his reccuring themes into one? I'd be very interested to read that story.
    "There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more" (Morrissey)

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