No more than a dark pencil line on a blank page. A horizon line, maybe. But also a slot for blackness to pour through...
A terrible construction site accident takes Edgar Freemantle's right arm and scrambles his memory and his mind, leaving him with little but rage as he begins the ordeal of rehabilitation. A marriage that produced two lovely daughters suddenly ends, and Edgar begins to wish he hadn't survived the injuries that could have killed him. He wants out. His psychologist, Dr. Kamen, suggests a "geographic cure," a new life distant from the Twin Cities and the building business Edgar grew from scratch. And Kamen suggests something else.
"Edgar, does anything make you happy?"
"I used to sketch."
"Take it up again. You need hedges... hedges against the night."
Edgar leaves Minnesota for a rented house on Duma Key, a stunningly beautiful, eerily undeveloped splinter of the Florida coast. The sun setting into the Gulf of Mexico and the tidal rattling of shells on the beach call out to him, and Edgar draws. A visit from Ilse, the daughter he dotes on, starts his movement out of solitude. He meets a kindred spirit in Wireman, a man reluctant to reveal his own wounds, and then Elizabeth Eastlake, a sick old woman whose roots are tangled deep in Duma Key. Now Edgar paints, sometimes feverishly, his exploding talent both a wonder and a weapon. Many of his paintings have a power that cannot be controlled. When Elizabeth's past unfolds and the ghosts of her childhood begin to appear, the damage of which they are capable is truly devastating.
The tenacity of love, the perils of creativity, the mysteries of memory and the nature of the supernatural -- Stephen King gives us a novel as fascinating as it is gripping and terrifying.
In bestseller King's well-crafted tale of possession and redemption, Edgar Freemantle, a successful Minnesota contractor, barely survives after the Dodge Ram he's driving collides with a 12-story crane on a job site. While Freemantle suffers the loss of an arm and a fractured skull, among other serious injuries, he makes impressive gains in rehabilitation. Personality changes that include uncontrollable rages, however, hasten the end of his 20-year-plus marriage. On his psychiatrist's advice, Freemantle decides to start anew on a remote island in the Florida Keys. To his astonishment, he becomes consumed with making art-first pencil sketches, then paintings-that soon earns him a devoted following. Freemantle's artwork has the power both to destroy life and to cure ailments, but soon the Lovecraftian menace that haunts Duma Key begins to assert itself and torment those dear to him. The transition from the initial psychological suspense to the supernatural may disappoint some, but even those few who haven't read King (Lisey's Story) should appreciate his ability to create fully realized characters and conjure horrors that are purely manmade. (Jan. 22) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-9 of the 9 most recent reviews
1 . One of his best
Posted November 15, 2010 by CScott , Halifaxloved this book. It was one of his best and vintage King.
2 . One of Kings best.
Posted June 05, 2010 by Marilyn , Jupiter, FLI have read King for years. This is one of his best works. Loved it!!
3 . Love it!!
Posted February 28, 2010 by Phyllis , BeaverOne of the best Stephen King books I've ever read and I've read them all......loved the characters and their relationship.....would recommend to anyone even if they don't read/like Stephen King.
4 . Great Story, Some Crazy Details
Posted February 01, 2010 by SuperFlyEli , CincinnatiThe basic premise of this story is amazing: a man relocates to reinvent himself after a work-related injury. His beach home during his reinvention turns out to be a house with a past, on an island with something to say. Although I - overall - liked this book, I was disappointed to see such a mix of the "Wizard and Glass" King and the "Bag of Bones" King. One minute, readers are hooked on the mysterious ship in the real-world character storyline. The next minute, otherworldly monsters are invading and giant shells have replaced the setting sun. King fans will love this yarn. King critics may cite some of this book's more extreme details details as "oooo, Lampmonster!" moments. This book is beach-book meets Rose Madder.
5 . He still has it...
Posted May 06, 2009 by Moxie719 , Kansas CityI was afraid Stephen King might have lost his touch after a period of "retirement"; and when I read the reviews on this book mentioning "giant frogs with sharp teeth", I was leery of buying this. I am pleased to say that he writes as well as ever, and on some subjects seems to have gained deep insight that only comes from aging and experience. I spent many nights reading until 3 in the morning just because I couldn't put it down. Only SK can make giant frogs with sharp teeth seem plausible; I will never doubt him again.
6 . Great story
Posted February 05, 2009 by jeff , ewa beach, HIIt was another great novel by King. I wish he would write more novels and less short stories. It kind of reminded me of Bag of Bones though.
7 . Every frightening thing...
Posted February 03, 2009 by TJT , Mt. Morris, MIKing threw a little of everything into this story; walking dead, decayed southern mansion, a death ship, storms, giant frogs, and more.
Can't say that I loved it, but it did hold my attention and kept me reading late into the night.
8 . A masterpiece my Stephen King!
Posted November 17, 2008 by Jennifer S. , Killeen, TxThe main character goes from despicable and surly, to endearing, in this paranormal novel, where a man is injured in a debilitating work accident. Just when it looks like he has not only lost his job, his wife and his self, he travels to a remote island off Florida, Duma Key. He rekindles his love for painting, and begins rehabilitation on not just his physical self, but emotionally. All seems to be going well until a paranormal twist comes his way. A MUST READ!
9 . A major work...
Posted March 15, 2008 by rmounsey , IllinoisI was lulled into this book which begins as an enthralling read about coming back from adversity. Then, wham! King raises the stakes on his own talent.
January 21, 2008
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Excerpt from Duma Key by Stephen King
1 -- My Other Life
My name is Edgar Freemantle. I used to be a big deal in the building and contracting business. This was in Minnesota, in my other life. I learned that my-other-life thing from Wireman. I want to tell you about Wireman, but first let's get through the Minnesota part.
Gotta say it: I was a genuine American-boy success there. Worked my way up in the company where I started, and when I couldn't work my way any higher there, I went out and started my own. The boss of the company I left laughed at me, said I'd be broke in a year. I think that's what most bosses say when some hot young pocket-rocket goes off on his own.
For me, everything worked out. When Minneapolis-St. Paul boomed, The Freemantle Company boomed. When things tightened up, I never tried to play big. But I did play my hunches, and most played out well. By the time I was fifty, Pam and I were worth forty million dollars. And we were still tight. We had two girls, and at the end of our particular Golden Age, Ilse was at Brown and Melinda was teaching in France, as part of a foreign exchange program. At the time things went wrong, my wife and I were planning to go and visit her.
I had an accident at a job site. It was pretty simple; when a pickup truck, even a Dodge Ram with all the bells and whistles, argues with a twelve-story crane, the pickup is going to lose every time. The right side of my skull only cracked. The left side was slammed so hard against the Ram's doorpost that it fractured in three places. Or maybe it was five. My memory is better than it used to be, but it's still a long way from what it once was.
The doctors called what happened to my head a contracoup injury, and that kind of thing often does more damage than the original hit. My ribs were broken. My right hip was shattered. And although I retained seventy per cent of the sight in my right eye (more, on a good day), I lost my right arm.
I was supposed to lose my life, but didn't. I was supposed to be mentally impaired thanks to the contracoup thing, and at first I was, but it passed. Sort of. By the time it did, my wife had gone, and not just sort of. We were married for twenty-five years, but you know what they say: shit happens. I guess it doesn't matter; gone is gone. And over is over. Sometimes that's a good thing.
When I say I was mentally impaired, I mean that at first I didn't know who people were -- even my wife -- or what had happened. I couldn't understand why I was in such pain. I can't remember the quality of that pain now, four years later. I know that I suffered it, and that it was excruciating, but it's all pretty academic. It wasn't academic at the time. At the time it was like being in hell and not knowing why you were there.
At first you were afraid you'd die, then you were afraid you wouldn't. That's what Wireman says, and he would have known; he had his own season in hell.
Everything hurt all the time. I had a constant ringing headache; behind my forehead it was always midnight in the world's biggest clock-shop. Because my right eye was fucked up, I was seeing the world through a film of blood, and I hardly knew what the world was. Nothing had a name. I remember one day when Pam was in the room -- I was still in the hospital -- and she was standing by my bed. I was extremely pissed that she should be standing when there was a thing to sit on right over in the cornhole.
"Bring the friend," I said. "Sit in the friend."
"What do you mean, Edgar?" she asked.
"The friend, the buddy!" I shouted. "Bring over the fucking pal, you dump bitch!" My head was killing me and she was starting to cry. I hated her for that. She had no business crying, because she wasn't the one in the cage, looking at everything through a red blur. She wasn't the monkey in the cage. And then it came to me. "Bring over the chum and sick down!" It was the closest my rattled, fucked-up brain could come to chair.
I was angry all the time. There were two older nurses that I called Dry Fuck One and Dry Fuck Two, as if they were characters in a dirty Dr. Seuss story. There was a candystriper I called Pilch Lozenge -- I have no idea why, but that nickname also had some sort of sexual connotation. To me, at least. When I grew stronger, I tried to hit people. Twice I tried to stab Pam, and on one of those two occasions I succeeded, although only with a plastic knife. She still needed a couple of stitches in her forearm. There were times when I had to be tied down.
Here is what I remember most clearly about that part of my other life: a hot afternoon toward the end of my month-long stay in an expensive convalescent home, the expensive air conditioning broken, tied down in my bed, a soap opera on the television, a thousand midnight bells ringing in my head, pain burning and stiffening my right side like a poker, my missing right arm itching, my missing right fingers twitching, no more Oxycontin due for awhile (I don't know how long, because telling time is beyond me), and a nurse swims out of the red, a creature coming to look at the monkey in the cage, and the nurse says: "Are you ready to visit with your wife?" And I say: "Only if she brought a gun to shoot me with."