Tuesday, February 14, 2006

You Got to Have Faith

My faith in Dan Simmons (and in Stephen King's critical abilities) is restored. Summer of Night was a phenomenal book, one of those few that actually lives up the lavish praise in the book jacket. One of the reviewers quoted compares it to Itand The Body. It's not really much like the latter, but it does bear a lot of similarity to It.

The story of a group of boys confronting an evil that is assaulting their town in the summer of 1960, it is also just the story of the boys' youths. I've always had a special fondness for stories like that, especially how the imaginations of the kids open up so many fun avenues that aren't there with adult characters, and Mr. Simmons captures the "sweet nostalgia" of youth, as Mr. King's quote says.

Without giving too much away, I hope, one of the main characters dies midway through, and I was sorely disappointed about that. I actually lost my enthusiasm for the book for a little while, but in the end the very fact that I liked the character so much made me go back to it, if only out of appreciation that Mr. Simmons could draw such a compelling character.

Fortunately, the second half of the book rewarded my return, with an explanation of the events that I would rate as satisfactory, not spectacular. Everything leading up to the climax was so entertaining and/or spooky that I didn't mind if the ultimate explanation was a tad hokey.

Summer of Night is a five star kind of book, a horror must-read, especially for aspiring authors. Mr. Simmons work can teach a lot.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You must immediately read A Winter Haunting before you forget anything about Summer of Night.


9:33 AM  
Blogger Tim Harden said...

I've actually already started it. And I can see what you mean.

9:47 AM  

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