Under the Dome

by Stephen King
2009 Scribner (Simon & Schuster)

Method of selection: Random number generator (really)
First sentence
: From two thousand feet, where Claudette Sanders was taking a flying lesson, the town of Chester’s Mill gleamed in the morning light like something freshly made and just set down.
Other uses for this book, after reading: use to mash woodchucks, use as a paperweight for smaller books during a hurricane

Before my review, you should know that I am already a Stephen King fan, but I had to choose this book because my random number generator took me to a shelf that was all Stephen King.

I know of no other writer who so swiftly draws you in and keeps you there, without complicated language or tricks. It is storytelling at its most basic. I chose this book out of all the Stephen King books because it was written recently, and I assumed that this late in his career, he must be losing steam. I was totally wrong.

The first thing you see in opening this book is a map of the town of Chester’s Mill, which immediately gives you all the sense of place you need for this story, and further suggests that things are going to get complicated enough that a map will be necessary (and at 1,071 pages, it better get complicated). There is also a list of all the people in the town on the day it is domed over, including three dogs.

The story opens on a banal scene where two people pilot a small plane over the town. At first I thought King had gone soft, until the second page when he announces “Their lives had another forty seconds to run”. Then we get a micro-story about a fat and happy woodchuck who gets smashed in half, followed by a description of the plane crash. So at the end of three pages I’m dying to read on and see what happens. And that’s what King does so well. Even though the writing isn’t always brilliant, at times even juvenile, you always want to see what comes next. King is one of the few writers that makes the very act of reading fun. Not shitty!

Other reviews: Den of Geek, Not A Fanatic, The Book Stop, HorrorScope

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