Day 58: The Wind Through The Keyhole by Stephen King
Summary From Goodreads:
In “The Wind Through the Keyhole,” Stephen King returns to the rich landscape of Mid-World, the spectacular territory of the Dark Tower fantasy saga that stands as his most beguiling achievement. Roland Deschain and his ka-tet”–“Jake, Susannah, Eddie, and Oy, the billy-bumbler–encounter a ferocious storm just after crossing the River Whye on their way to the Outer Baronies. As they shelter from the howling gale, Roland tells his friends not just one strange story but two . . . and in so doing, casts new light on his own troubled past.
In his early days as a gunslinger, in the guilt-ridden year following his mother’s death, Roland is sent by his father to investigate evidence of a murderous shape-shifter, a “skin-man” preying upon the population around Debaria. Roland takes charge of Bill Streeter, the brave but terrified boy who is the sole surviving witness to the beast’s most recent slaughter. Only a teenager himself, Roland calms the boy and prepares him for the following day’s trials by reciting a story from the “Magic Tales of the Eld “that his mother often read to him at bedtime. “A person’s never too old for stories,” Roland says to Bill. “Man and boy, girl and woman, never too old. We live for them.” And indeed, the tale that Roland unfolds, the legend of Tim Stoutheart, is a timeless treasure for all ages, a story that lives for us.
The Wind Through The Keyhole was a fantastic blast from the past for me. For those that don’t know or who didn’t feel like reading the summary above, this is a Dark Tower novel which had been a series thought to be completed in 2003-2004. While this isn’t a continuation (King notes that it would be 4.5 chronologically) it is certainly a welcome addition to further enrich the series to me, and I’m sure to other King and Dark Tower fans as well.
The book is told in the dialect King used in the previous Dark Tower novels, a brand that has a certain country twang at least to my eyes. While some may find this an irritant, I rather enjoy the different form of speech. It gives it a western feel and that mixed in with the fantastic events that occur throughout this book, and the Dark Tower novels in general, makes for quite the combination. I love King’s writing in all of his works, and this is no exception.
The characters fit in with the rest of the series, focusing on Roland but bringing back old favorites as well. Roland has a gruff no-nonsense attitude and it suits him very well. It is also what I would expect for someone in his line of work, a gunslinger, and a cowboy of sorts. Susannah brings the humor to the bunch, though Eddie is the comedian, with her I-can-do-it-all attitude, despite being in a wheel chair, in addition to her wit and sarcasm. Jake is the youngster in the bunch and adds some innocence to the otherwise all-business mindset of the group, which is rather refreshing. They are all fantastic, though I connect with Roland most on a personal level. We take our own counsel and don’t like people seeing our emotions, I’m good with him being that way as the hero/MC.
The plot, as always with King, is a bit long and winding, but has enough action sprinkled in to keep the reader entertained. I certainly couldn’t put the book down! There were definite sections which served as solid transition points though going from the main story to the title section “The Wind Through The Keyhole” and back again can be a bit distracting if you don’t pay close attention. King’s use of characters telling stories within a story isn’t a new tactic for him but it is one that I rather like. This book was a bit light on the fantastic which was a mild disappointment.
Overall I enjoyed The Wind Through The Keyhole, it was a fun story and I was thrilled to get to revisit the Dark Tower series. I may need to go back and re-read the series, if I ever find the time! I recommend this to anyone, and if you are holding off for any reason you need to pick it up, King’s novels are always a quality read. Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 59!