I cheated in my Stephen King chronological reread series. Desperation was up next, but... I really dislike that book, okay? I wanted to get to a King novel I love before the year’s end, so here we are.
This was my third reread of Bag of Bones; this time it hit me deeper than ever before. Now that I’m familiar with Kong’s entire oeuvre, connections big and small (Thad Beaumont gets a shoutout, there’s a scene with Ralph Roberts and Norris Ridgewick, names like Polly Chalmers and Bannerman are mentioned) stood out, deepening my enjoyment of this novel.
This is King’s grief story. Yeah, his early ‘80s works deal in grief, too, but this 1998 tome is steeped in the blues. Four years after his wife’s death, author Mike Noonan moves from Derry to their summer home in TR-90. Dealing with writer’s block and haunted by ghosts both physical and metaphorical, it is a period of intense mourning. This has been a year of mourning, for me, so this particular narrative really hit me hard.
A gorgeous, spacious look at romance and small town life and mourning loss, this is a King classic. If it isn’t in my top five, it’s certainly in my top ten. This is when, I think, King went to a whole ‘nother level in his writing. The move to Scribner did him a world of good. Equal parts moving and terrifying, I cannot recommend this one enough.