What IS Under the Dome…?


I’m reading Under the Dome and really struggling to finish it. I spent most of July sick in bed and wanted a tome of the escapist variety – which isn’t really what a tome is, but you know what I mean. So I asked my sister, who has the entire Stephen King collection in her house (it’s impressive) if she thought I’d like it. It turns out I don’t. Some of my favourite books are by Stephen King, but I definitely don’t like all of them. I did get into in the beginning of Under the Dome. I mean, Stephen King is master of beginnings, right? He has been known to spend years on an opening paragraph – not only to get that Stephen King hook right, but because he says a lot of the time a thoroughly crafted opening paragraph helps him work out the characters and the plot.

The beginning of Under the Dome is a cracker: cows get sliced in half, people get separated from one another, planes crash into a seemingly empty space, and no-one has any idea what this dome actually is. It’s classic King. But, dear god, does he drag it out! The part I’m really struggling with, though, is that the more you get into it, the more two dimensional the characters become, especially the evil ones, who have no light and shade. I’m not watching the TV series, so can’t see how the writers and producers of the show have dealt with that, but in such a long book, it does make for some tedious reading.

I must admit, when I was recovering in bed, I ripped through it and enjoyed it well enough, but now I’m back at work, back into the minutiae of life, I’m just not picking it up. To me, that’s the sign of a really good book – the book you hold in one hand and eat or do the dishes with the other; the book you stay up late in bed reading despite the early morning meeting the next morning. That happened to me recently with The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.

I’m am going to finish it though – I can’t get this far and then not find out what the bloody dome is! I actually don’t care anymore, but… oh well, you can’t get this far through a 2000 page book and then stop right at the end, right?! … Right?


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Filed under Criticism, Fiction, Reading, Review, Science fiction, Stephen King, Writing

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