DiskuteraStephen King's Insomnia reviewed by jseger9000

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Stephen King's Insomnia reviewed by jseger9000

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1jseger9000
Redigerat: okt 10, 2011, 3:17pm

Here's a rarity for me. A review of a Stephen King book that I just did not like.
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Troubled by the death of his wife, Ralph Roberts is having trouble sleeping. He spends the wee small hours of the morning staring out of his living room window... and he's started seeing the strangest things. Is it a glimpse of a hidden world, or is the lack of sleep causing hallucinations?

Now that, friends, is a good setup for a horror novel. It has King's trademark strong and likeable characters that you come to care about. The story is quirky and interesting and unlike anything else that King has written. Unfortunately, Insomnia is the Stephen King book I like the least.

For the first 200 pages or so all we know is that Ralph is waking up a few minutes earlier each night. The book just sort of meanders along with no real plot or driving narrative. Ralph visits other old crocks, takes walks and gets increasingly frustrated at his inability to sleep. Any of the enjoyment in the book is due to the personality of the characters. Which is to say that two hundred pages in it is mainly "The Life and Times of Ralph Roberts: Sleepless Old Fart." The pacing is slooooooooooow.

Once things do get rolling, my interest was piqued. But the further you go the more the story ties into King's Dark Tower universe. Many of King's books will have oblique references to the Tower. But here, the story ends up so connected to those books that I think a reader unfamiliar with Roland's struggles will be lost.

The book also is saturated with abortion politics and it is not exactly unbiased. Now, I happen to agree with King's politics, so it didn't bother me. But I do wonder if at times it became intrusive to the story.

So in the end, there's a fuzzy, slow-moving story, perhaps too heavily invested with abortion arguments and definitely too connected to an 'outside' series of books. Yeah, the characters are great, but you can get that in almost every King book. Even King (in On Writing) refers to Insomnia as a "stiff, trying-too-hard novel." Well, at least we agree on that.

2VivienneR
okt 12, 2011, 2:22am

I can't think of a single improvement. The only thing I can suggest is to include the introductory paragraph to the review.

As someone who also suffers insomnia I wonder if King's Insomnia would work as a remedy.

3jseger9000
Redigerat: okt 12, 2011, 1:18pm

Hey, thanks for the feedback. I'll add that first paragraph to the boby of the review. i've also become less strident in my dislike for the book since, looking through my catalog I rated Rage and Roadwork lower. I guess it isn't the worst SK book I've read. But it is down with The Dead Zone as one I really didn't care for.
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Here's a rarity for me. A review of a Stephen King book that I just did not like.

Troubled by the death of his wife, Ralph Roberts is having trouble sleeping. He spends the wee small hours of the morning staring out of his living room window... and he's started seeing the strangest things. Is it a glimpse of a hidden world, or is the lack of sleep causing hallucinations?

Now that, friends, is a good setup for a horror novel. It has King's trademark strong and likeable characters that you come to care about. The story is quirky and interesting and unlike anything else that King has written. Unfortunately, Insomnia is one of Stephen King's books that I like the least.

For the first 200 pages or so all we know is that Ralph is waking up a few minutes earlier each night. The book just sort of meanders along with no real plot or driving narrative. Ralph visits other old crocks, takes walks and gets increasingly frustrated at his inability to sleep. Any of the enjoyment in the book is due to the personality of the characters. Which is to say that two hundred pages in it is mainly "The Life and Times of Ralph Roberts: Sleepless Old Fart." The pacing is slooooooooooow.

Once things do get rolling, my interest was piqued. But the further you go the more the story ties into King's Dark Tower universe. Many of King's books will have oblique references to the Tower. But here, the story ends up so connected to those books that I think a reader unfamiliar with Roland's struggles will be lost.

The book also is saturated with abortion politics and it is not exactly unbiased. Now, I happen to agree with King's politics, so it didn't bother me. But I do wonder if at times it became intrusive to the story.

So in the end, there's a fuzzy, slow-moving story, perhaps too heavily invested with abortion arguments and definitely too connected to an 'outside' series of books. Yeah, the characters are great, but you can get that in almost every King book. Even King (in On Writing) refers to Insomnia as a "stiff, trying-too-hard novel." Well, at least we agree on that.

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