It’s Winter, full night, the sky has decided to come down in buckets while lightning and thunder are breaking down. A sudden drop in current almost makes me scream, I can barely keep from running into my parents’ bed as I did as a child. But it is certainly not the storm that terrifies me, it is the book that I am reading in one breath in the weak light of the lightshade in the grandparents’ house that creaks and rasps and already makes me anxious. I started the book a few hours earlier, but I can’t get away from it, despite the cold, the sleep, the anguish that is rising up page after page.
I had already read Stephen King’s novels, but usually given the eternal description of every detail, even the most useless, I never found myself anxious Not even when I read IT, except in a couple of scenes. The merit of King is also his defect in my opinion: the ability to draw his characters in an excellent way, offering the reader small details disseminated here and there that allow you to have a complete picture especially of the psychology and physicality of that precise character ; the talent to describe places and atmospheres in such a detailed way that look like pictures.. The problem is, as I said, that it usually takes so long that I lose not only the thread of the speech, but also all that concoction of terror and excitement that he would /should transmit.
Still, it will be that the cover up slams against the glass, the lightnings almost illuminate the room, the shadows draw scenes of terror on the wall, “Misery“ is making me die of anguish!!!
Page after page, I feel more and more inside the story, I sigh, I twist, I close my eyes and then I go on reading avidly; I am tempted to interrupt but I am afraid of the nightmares that I could bring to sleep.
What if I dream of Anne Wilkes and all the torture she’s inflicting on the poor Paul Sheldon?
The plot is not as surreal as “The Dome”, “The dream catcher” or “Carrie”. No aliens, killer dolls or supernatural phenomena to alleviate our anxieties and console us with the clear perspective of << It is pure and simple invention! >>. No, here the characters are real like us! Real, realistic. No voodoo magic, nothing extra-terrestrial.
A psychopathic fan and a tired writer.
“Writers remember everything…especially the hurts. Strip a writer to the buff, point to the scars, and he’ll tell you the story of each small one. From the big ones you get novels. A little talent is a nice thing to have if you want to be a writer, but the only real requirement is the ability to remember the story of every scar.
Art consists of the persistence of memory.”
Many writers have taken inspiration from this story, even Castle starts like this, with him deciding to kill his main character and a fan who who is not happy with this, begins to emulate the murderer of the novels.
But everything there, is seasoned with irony, paradoxes, funny jokes. “Misery” instead is a succession of suffering. Why read it then? Why undergo such a torture?
Because it is absolutely brilliant, it devours you, spew you up, forces you to read it.
First of all, I recommend it to aspiring writers, especially those who, taken from the Martin-mood, intend to take out all the most beautiful and loved characters from the readers …
I would think about it twice.
And then I recommend it because it almost looks like an “interactive” book-game: we are Paul’s fans and we encourage him to rebel against the disturbed one. During the experiments of the initial escapes from the room, we rejoice when he manages to open the door and rejoice every time he rebels answering her in the right manner.
“In a book, all would have gone according to plan… but life was so fucking untidy — what could you say for an existence where some of the most crucial conversations of your life took place when you needed to take a shit, or something? An existence where there weren’t even any chapters?”
But he pays for every rebellion at a high price. I don’t want to spoil anything but let’s say that having suffered a lot from a knee injury at some point I felt in full empathy, to the point of finding myself in tears!
Not everyone knows that at the time King was writing stuffed with drugs and drowned in alcohol and the story of “Misery” unconsciously reflected his addiction condition, but it shouldn’t be surprising since there are totally dreamlike and crazy passages in the novel. Yet it is a madness so plausible as to be a source of nightmares for nights and nights.
The real particularity is the story in the story: on the one hand the accidents of the ‘strange couple’ Sheldon-Wilkes and within them, King frames the pieces of “The Return of Misery” – the novel that Anne forces him to write, which reveal the fundamental and crucial parts of the story, and allow the reader to hold the general thread of the intrigue but at the same time attracts the reader himself who would aspire to have more news about the whole adventure.
“He felt as he always did when he finished a book — queerly empty, let down, aware that for each little success he had paid a toll of absurdity.”
When the winter storm subsided at 4 in the morning, I was only a few pages away from the conclusion. << Will Paul be saved? Will Annie get away with what she did to him? >> I wondered. I remember collapsing with the book in my hands, having had troubled dreams and that when I woke-up I had decided never to read such books again.
I finished it the next night, and didn’t keep my promise, I read about it, thriller, noir, horror; but still today Anne Walkes remains one of the most chilling women who come to visit my nights from time to time.
“Writing does not cause misery, it is born of misery. – Montaigne”