03
Jan
19

“Not a wind, not even a high, exactly, but an elevation. A sense that you had gone beyond yourself and could go farther still.” CBR11 Review 1.

unknown-1The latest “book” from Uncle Stevie leaves me a little confused, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Elevation is a short book, shorter than many of the “short stories” that King has famously published over the years — definitely shorter than The Mist, or Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, or The Running Man. I’m not quite sure why this was released as a stand-alone novel. I think it would be better suited as the featured story in a new collection. But I’m not a publisher, so what do I know?

Another weird thing is that Elevation seems to be borrowing plot points from some of his earlier work. Like in Richard Bachman’s Thinner, this story is about a man who is losing weight against his will. Every day he weighs less and less, and he knows that sooner or later he won’t be able to survive. Except there are no gypsy curses here. Scott just starts weighing less, even though his body looks the same as always. Of course, this all takes place in Castle Rock, Maine, a town that is no stranger to weird things.

And like Joe Hill’s short story, “Pop Art,” about a boy who is more or less a balloon, nobody seems all that worked up about the details of what might be happening to Scott. Yes, they are worried for him, but if I lived in Castle Rock, I would for sure be questioning ALL OF THIS.

King also shoves in a subplot about tolerance and bigotry, which doesn’t quite work here. Scott has been feuding with his new neighbors, a married lesbian couple who came to town to open a wonderful restaurant that none of the locals will go to BECAUSE LESBIANS IN MAINE. Scott becomes obsessed with making things right between him and the women before he weighs nothing. I understand that being neighborly is a nice feeling, but this whole thing never really works for me.

And yet.

Constant Reader, I still kinda liked this story, Warts and all.

I liked that Scott never feared what would happen to him when he hit zero on the scale, and that he was filled with happiness just living his life and appreciating the beauty of the world around him. The joy he describes while running in the rain, or breathing fresh air, or eating a wonderful meal were just lovely.

Even though very little of this story made sense, I still enjoyed it. There are no monsters, no evil clowns, or gunslingers here. This is just a strange little story about a man coming to terms with the end of his life as he knows it, and surrounding himself with people that matter to him to help him figure out what comes next.


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