Book review: Elevation


Elevation by Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

NOTE: This won Goodreads Best Book 2018 Award for Horror, which is flat-out absurd. This is not a horror story in any way.

This is a strange thing: a Stephen King novel (it says so right on the cover) that is legitimately short. This hearkens back to, well, literally forty years ago, when he wrote novels that told their stories in less than a thousand pages. (I’m being mean, of course. Some of his recent novels would not break a bookshelf in two, just most of them).

In telling a lean tale, King jettisons side plots, extraneous characters, back story and everything else to show how a seemingly unassuming man in Castle Rock helps smooth the way for a lesbian couple to be accepted–more or less-by the community, before facing up to his very unusual condition.

Without going into spoilers–I think the story works better if you don’t know more than I’ve just described–I found Elevation to be sweet, even lovely. It seems to have been written as an antidote to the rather depressing state of the world we currently live in, filled with compassion and decency, even if the face of naked prejudice, threats of violence and reckoning with one’s mortality.

It’s also rather funny, in all the right places.

The characters are not particularly complex and given the brevity of the story, things may feel like they get resolved a little too quickly. This isn’t anything deep or profound, but you’d need to have your cynicism shined and buffed to not be at least a little moved by this.

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