Under the Dome

More than a year late, I finally read Stephen King’s Under the Dome.  It shouldn’t be that surprising, because I’m always behind in my reading.  There are only a handful of writers (Gillian Flynn, Sarah Langan, Paul Tremblay, Norman Partridge, Brian Keene) that I’ll read almost immediately.  Everybody else has to wait until my mood is right.

Well, I wish I hadn’t waited, because Under the Dome quickly became one of my favorite King works (Fun Note: I originally spelled the title as Under the Dame, which I’m sure is a very different book).

For those who might also be behind on their reading, Under the Dome is about the small town of Chester’s Mill, Maine and how, shortly before election time in 2012, a dome drops over the entire town, trapping the residents inside.  It’s a simple-yet-brilliant set up, and what happens to Chester’s Mill’s citizens over the space of the next week is nothing short of horrific.  King digs the knife in deep and twists it mercilessly.  Really, he’s just as good as he’s always been.

What sets this novel apart for me, however, is the villain.  Big Jim Rennie, the town’s second selectman (what the hell is a selectman, anyway?), isn’t the supernatural force of nature that Randall Flagg or Pennywise the Clown is.  In truth, he’s something much worse: crooked, human, self-righteous, and convinced above all things that he’s right.  There were more than a few chapters in Under the Dome that had me shaking with anger.  That’s good writing.  The only other writing passage to get such a visceral reaction from me was the end of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects.

So, for those of you who thought the King is dead, you’re wrong.  Go pick up Under the Dome.  Long live the King!

4 thoughts on “Under the Dome

  1. Man oh man, I wish I had such a positive reaction to this book. Despite Jim Rennie’s uber-villainy throughout the book, even to the bitter end, I felt the book droned on. And the big reveal leading towards the end fell flat with me. I’m curious to see if a more condensed town-in-crisis novel like Brian Keene’s Darkness on the Edge of Town will appeal to me more once I get a chance to read it.

  2. Hey, I’m more behind in my reading than you. I don’t even have a copy of Under the Dome (Dame). Hmmm, that whole Dame mistake gave me an idea.

  3. You keep reminding me that I have to read some Gillian Flynn.

    (and thanks for nod, too!)

  4. Paul – No problem. It’s a well-earned nod!

    Gef – Darkness is a great read. It’s a bit more vague, though. While very much like Under the Dome in theme, it’s kind of like the broader brush strokes of Under the Dome with a much smaller cast. It’s one of Brian’s best, though.

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