This is the second and a half time I’ve read this one. I tried to read it once as a kid, and it’s a little too much for me to work out what’s going on here, because you have to allow yourself to fall into mystery and the some of the basic quest tropes early on.
The first time I read it in full was about 10 years ago, when I was more equipped. This relisten brings to mind a handful of new observations. This is King at his best, and worst, in a few distinct ways. I find the characters and worlds they come from to be incredibly well-rendered. His best! Detta Walker (as opposed to Odetta) is him at his worst. Woof. She’s the feral cat Black stereotype alter ego of the mild mannered Odetta. And it’s tough. We will see where I get to with this series thinking about that later on.
So, the novel itself barely moves and it’s pretty brilliant how he’s able to make that work. They walk up a beach and fend up lobster monsters (lobstrosities) and go through the doors. King is good at creating junkie characters with Eddie, as he definitely knows addiction. And he’s good at seemingly making it up as he goes along. Ultimately as far as second and kind of transition novels go, this one is incredibly successful. And given that he wrote these novels relatively consistently through the 90s and 2000s, we benefit by how patient this novel ultimately is.