May 8th, 2020

Liverpool

Book #22: The Gunslinger by Stephen King



Number of pages: 305

Stephen King's Dark Tower series is something that I intended to read for many years, and I finally decided to make a start. Because it is a fantasy series, it feels different from many of his other works, but it still has its writer's hallmarks all over it, mostly because of its violent content and frequent pop culture references (in this book, characters occasionally reference songs by the Beatles).

The premise is that the book's protagonist Roland (usually referred to as "the gunslinger") is looking for the Dark Tower; the reason (at least for now) is not given, it is just a Hitchcock-style McGuffin that gets the plot going.

This book was one that I was able to read reasonably fast, although I noticed that the narrative style often swung very quickly between being simple to read, and quite dense, occasionally deep and philosophical. The first book is all about Roland's pursuit of the mysterious "man in black" and I noticed that at least half of the story was told in flashback, including the story of how Roland first became the gunslinger, growing up in a society that could have been out of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series. At one point there was even a flashback-within-a-flashback, while Roland told another character about a town he visited near the start of his quest.

I enjoyed this book a lot, and it was pleasingly short for a first book in the series (I get the impression that they just get longer after this point). I hope to continue with reading all seven books in this series.

Next book: Young Adam (Alexander Trocchi)