I’ve got two book reviews and a ballyhoo coming down the pipe, but this week has gotten off to a wildly busy start for me, so in lieu of an original post today I thought I’d share this lovely NYT review of Stephen King’s newest novel, The Outsider.
Victor Lavalle starts off recounting a personal experience familiar to most (if not all) writers:
The first time I wrote a short story I ripped off Stephen King.
(My first short story was a gender-swapped version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone titled “Salinda and the Ruby.” Good times.)
Lavalle goes on with more about the plot of The Outsider as well as some interesting thoughts on cultural appropriation–King has a patchy record in that regard in my opinion, but Lavalle seems to think he’s done a good job in this book.
(Related: If you haven’t read Nnedi Okorafor’s classic essay on King’s use of the “magical negro” trope, get thee to this hyperlink immediately.)
Then Lavalle drops in this gem:
More than 50 novels published, and [King is] still adding new influences to his work. I can think of a great many literary writers who are far lazier about their range of inspirations and interests.
What a zinger! I’m not a fan of horror, meaning most of King’s oeuvre isn’t in my wheelhouse, but his book On Writing is one of the best memoirs you could ever hope to read and I’ve always been inspired by King’s willingness to branch out as a writer (and lately, Twitter-er). Lavalle captured King’s charm perfectly here.
In short, this review is everything I’d like my book reviews to be someday: personal, open-minded, thoughtful, a bit funny. *gets inspired*
You can read the entire review here.