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I just read 'Duma Key' - twice to be exact. It is not the first time I have read a book several times, and certainly not when we're talking Stephen King. Among the novels I have read several times, I can mention 'The Green Mile' and 'Bag of Bones'. But this is the first time that I, after having turned the last page in the book, just flipped the book and instantly started all over the very same day.
'Duma Key' is a very special book! I shall return to that subject shortly. The story is basically about a contractor, Edgar Freemantle, who are involved in a very violent accident on a construction site when a construction crane runs into (and over) his car. Quite miraculously he saved his life, but unfortunately he loses the right arm, his pelvis gets crushed and he has got a serious skull fracture. After the accident, his wife, Pam, decides to leave Edgar because of his violent tantrums when his aphasia prevents him from expressing himself correctly. As a therapy for the trauma, Edgar's doctor suggests that he should move away from the familiar surroundings in a while and spend some time with his relaxing hobbies. The new location is an island, 'Duma Key' to be exact, and Edgar begins to paint - and it shows that he is a surprisingly talented painter.
I will not reveal more of the plot. I will not spoil your reading experience! Just let me mention that Stephen King manages to create a gallery that you really are going to care about. I came to like Edgar Freemantle and his friends as much as I did with Sheriff Pangborn, who appears in several of King's earlier novels including 'The Tommyknockers', 'The Dark Half' and 'Needful Things'. The characters in 'Duma Key' became so vivid and so important to me, that I almost had a physical pain inside me when the story ended.
'Duma Key' contains some really funny passages and dialogues. And the switch between the really scary part and the funny part is subtly balanced. 'Duma Key' are never going to be a funny book, neither are you going to meet the horror in a sudden event. Instead the horror develops slowly until it consumes the reader. It is really brilliant. Unconditional. But the most ingenious part of the book is what I am going to describe to you now...The book's ending is nothing short of astonishing and extremely surprising. In fact, I searched the Internet to figure out if there was a sequel to 'Duma Key'. There was not. That was the main reason why I immediately had to read the book over once again.
To quote Stephen King's own words in paraphrased form: "Find the story in history. It is not always easy to find, but it is always there. And if you miss it, you risk missing the world ..." That's what 'Duma Key' is all about. This story is written in several layers. You read it, but you do not understand the depth of the story - yet. Not until you read 'Duma Key' again ... and again ... and again. Every time you read 'Duma Key', the story shows another layer and the incomprehensible becomes understandable.
Dear Mr. King. 'Duma Key' is not a book - it is art itself...