Well, I suppose we've all been there at some point. Not necessarily handcuffed to the bedpost with only our dead spouse for company, but wondered what we would do if we were trapped and our life was at stake. I know I have.
In this highly detailed story, a woman is alone with the corpse of her husband and we discover the thoughts she has as she reflects on the discomforts and trauma of her life. Amongst these thoughts are her plans to obtain a drink of water and ultimately to escape.
The story is gruesome in many ways, not only the physical suffering as she tries to achieve her goals, but the mental anguish of suppressed childhood abuse. At times I found it very uncomfortable. There was one particularly (and lengthy, or so it seemed) graphic section, where I did feel queasy. Then again, I had just eaten a large and sickly Cornish cream tea and had stomach ache at this point. Not sure which affected me the most.
As always, Stephen King paints a vivid picture of his character's thoughts and actions and there has evidently been a great deal of research behind this story. Well, what it's like to be handcuffed to a bedpost and some medical stuff at least. There is edge-of-the-seat suspense, psychological horror as well as blood, stomach-turning horror, a hint of the supernatural, abuse, and mental illness.
The story could have ended at a satisfying place, but King chose to add a third section, which took the tale somewhere else, somewhere even darker. He repeated sections in case we thought we could bypass the yucky bits - a very effective literary technique. At no point did I foresee what was about to happen, and that is a positive considering how often I work out endings these days.
An easy to read book (in terms of diction not subject matter), engrossing, original and tense. I was surprised to see that it is not one of King's most popular books but it is an unusual topic and not his typical kind of horror story. Wonderful dark fiction.
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