Recently, I counted all the Stephen King novels, short story collections, and non-fiction books. It comes to a grand total of 71. If there’s anyone who can claim they can write like the Devil, it’s King.
With completing Bag of Bones, I’ve now reached 41 books read. I’m on the home stretch! Now, to hope that I can keep up my reading speed with his writing speed…
Stephen King always seems to combine two distinct themes in each of his works; one natural, and one supernatural. In The Stand, it was about rebuilding society after it’s collapse (natural), and the war between omnipotent good vs evil (supernatural). In It, the central characters had to acknowledge their childhood and overcome their fears (natural), facing a powerful entity not from their world (supernatural).
This is no different for Bag of Bones which vaguely divides into two distinct themes: haunting, and conspiracy.
Mike Noonan, a novelist, finds himself unable to continue with his profession with the passing of his wife, Jo. After several years of sickening writer’s block, and nightmares relating to their summer house on Dark Score Lake, he decides to return to this home away from home to alleviate both of these issues.
He stumbles across a young widowed mother, Mattie, fighting a hopeless custody battle over her daughter, Kyra, against her withered yet relentless millionaire step-father, Max Devore. As Mike steps in, he begins to unravel a much larger conspiracy that seems to be connected to his restless summer home.
King needs to be congratulated for being able to tie all of the many mysterious threads together towards the end, because my initial gripe with the book, halfway through, was that I had no idea how everything fit together. He threw a jigsaw puzzle to the ground, and while I assumed the completed picture would be incredible, I resigned myself to the fact that some pieces would have scattered under the couch, or down a few cracks. However, there is an unusually satisfying conclusion in Bag of Bones which answers more questions than you can shake a plastic owl at.
There is a little weird vibe of creepiness, though, with Mike’s pseudo-relationship with the young Mattie even though he is pretty much old enough to be her father. He is aware of this, but sometimes the way it is written, it comes off as creepy uncle-type stuff. The town talks greatly of this, which I suppose mirrors the gossip of real life small towns.
This is a great take on a Gothic style novel, showing a town full of secrets that you really want to unravel. Just don’t expect everything to make sense until towards the very end.