Later, King's latest novel is a summary of his poetics: childhood, fear and dark forces

Later, King's latest novel is a summary of his poetics: childhood, fear and dark forces

Later, King's latest novel is a summary of his poetics

The King of Horror is back in the bookstore with a story in which he does not tell us anything new but retains the ability to make his usual ghosts still exciting

The famous American writer of horror books How is it there out? Now that the whole world has become much more like a Stephen King book than we would like, well, how are you? Whatever your answer, while a virus raging outside that fortunately is only the distant relative of the one in the Shadow of the Scorpion, King's new, 53rd novel is out. It was published simultaneously in the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy, and is called Later (Sperling & Kupfer, translation by Luca Briasco). In America is the third title that Stephen King has written for Hard Case Crime, a publishing house dedicated to thriller / noir. With the same publisher, he had previously published Colorado Kid and Joyland, two other little gems of the genre. Later is actually a black story, with serial killers, corrupt cops, drug traffickers. But these have a marginal role, because horror struggles to have its space. And there is nothing scarier than being a child and being afraid for your mother.

Let's take the thought off immediately: yes, it's a good book.

It's not Stephen King's best, that's why we always have It or Stand by me, which don't leave the podium, but it's still an excellent performance. A tormented child as the protagonist, a turbulent childhood, a single parent who has to fight against poverty, supernatural powers, forces of evil. Does it remind you of anything? They are the classic topoi of the American writer, it is a recipe that cannot go wrong. The King of horror could also write about these topics blindfolded and in fact he does so with ease, with an innate naturalness, because we are playing on his playing field, with his rules. Sly, he has fun with the reader and his expectations. He has nothing more to prove, this is a book he had a blast writing, the happiness in doing so oozes clearly from every page.

And, at some point, as King loves his Faithful Reader, there it is: the hook, the reference we were waiting for. The detail that refers us to the shared narrative universe in which the novelist sets his books, of which the last book is evidently a part.

As also happened in the novel 22/11/63, in which we had a small appearance of Beverly and Ritchie, children protagonists of King's most beloved book, here it is the quote, the element that every reader of It can only grasp. A small reference to the adventures of the brave children of Derry, to whom two films by Andi Muschietti have recently been dedicated.

Later we have another child, Jamie Conklin, whom we will accompany from six years to adolescence. He lives with his mother, he has only her, he is the whole world of her. And how much fun Stephen King will have enjoyed outlining the figure of a literary agent, the mother of the protagonist, struggling with bizarre authors and their absurd claims ...

But Jamie has a feature that makes him special , a supernatural power that makes life difficult for him. And the more he grows, the more his power makes him vulnerable and permeable to the evil around him. Without spoiling too much, it is a book about childhood and choices. On the people who happen in one's life because it is destiny or because the case has intervened and the harmful consequences that often carry with them with their presence. How easily Evil can enter our lives.

It is a book about the banal terrors of childhood but it is also a jumble of adult fears. King has it all: physical decay, sudden death of loved ones, inevitable accidents, drug addiction, bankruptcy, bills to pay, tax deadlines. King reminds us that it is not that as we grow up we will have fewer fears, but, on the contrary, we will have more and more and more varied.

For the rest, everything will go as usual with the most famous horror writer ever : you will jump when he wants you to do it, you will have fun when he decides he wants to lighten the atmosphere, you will not bea> able to put the book down until you are finished and goodbye to sleep. Moreover, social commitments at the time of the pandemic are practically zero, so what better do you have to do?

There is a new book by the man who has reinvented the definition of fear. I therefore advise you to double-lock the door, get under the covers and start the journey. And if you hear strange noises, well, don't turn around and put your head under the pillow. Monsters are always under the bed, they never left. And they started whispering again.

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