Sunday, January 29, 2012

Under the Dome

This excellent thousand-pager from Stephen King is both epic and somehow cozy. It's high concept premise: an entire town--Chester's Mill, Maine--is mysteriously encased in a huge, impermeable dome, sealed from outside help, its inhabitants unable to escape. All sorts of grisliness ensues as King dispatches with abandon his town's denizens. There's a typical King hero, a man named Barbie, and an excellent King villain, a self-righteous Christian named Big Jim Rennie, who is incredibly nasty while thinking he's the hero of the story.

Most of all, though, this is King's most political novel, working as an allegory for everything that's wrong with modern America, post 9/11. Its themes: the environment, homeland security, American imperialism, Christian doctrine, individual freedoms, the Press, to name a few. But most of all this book turns out to be about the importance of pity, more important in the modern world than love.

I remember King, a massive fan of Lost, imploring the writers to create an ending that explained everything that happened. He said he knew that they'd be crucified for it but it was the honest way to go. He was right, and the ending of this book, the explanation of the events, is not quite as riveting as its premise. But how could it be? King provides an ending, and that's the important thing.


  1. This book's been sat on my shelf for a while now Pete. It's that whole thousand-page thing that's been putting me off. Sounds like I should reconsider...

  2. Definitely read it Uke. A good book for long winter nights.