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Page 205 – 209

“Her wings made a steady low purring sound. / Of the Covenant Man there was no sign.”

This passage must be the most exquisite writing in the whole Mother-King canon as the ‘sighe’ takes young Tim (hard to remember that he was only 11)  further into the Endless Ironwoods to seek what I call the Weirdmonger but what others may call the man in the black cloak or suit, or the Tax Man or the Covenant Man… (7 May 12 – 10.35 am bst)

Pages 209 – 222

Tim nodded, then sat down on the tussock (like Sma’ Lady Muffin on her tuffin, he thought) and began munching the rest of his bread.”

Various creatures including a sleepy, tetchy Dragon-bitch, some creatures reminding me of the Gunslinger’s ‘lobstrosities’ and ‘muties’ as mudmen etc: and, with his four-bullet Gun,  I thought a while ago that Tim was tantamount to verging upon being a Gunslinger even before the creatures mistook him for one in the story I hadn’t then read… (7 May 12 – 1.00pm bst)

Page 222 – 238

“I’ve gone jippa, he thought – the unpleasant Tree term for people who lost their minds. But he didn’t feel jippa.”

Tim’s poignant parting from the Fagonard creatures, creatures with an easy acceptance of their own forthcoming deaths (we humans don’t think about such things with self-induced ‘jippa’, I guess) – and they leave him with a type of magic GPS-SatNav type thing marked ‘North Central Positronics’. If I weren’t so ‘jippa’ myself, I’d remember the earlier Dark Tower books easier? But are there degrees of ‘jippa’, I ask ‘myself’. Wasn’t Fragonard a painter? (7 May 12 – 2.00pm bst)

Page 238 – 252

And once they came to a field filled with giant yellow mushrooms standing four feet high, with caps the size of umbrellas.”

This story within a story within a story gets more amd more excitingly page-turning – even perhaps in Tim’s handheld electronic GPS terms (if you’re reading an ebook of this book) with a voice pointing the way – via the Path of the Beam – towards the DOGAN inferred ‘transmitter’ as a shelter from the supposedly imminent Starkblast that started blowing in the outer story…preventing you getting Lost in the new ‘Lost’? Give or take the odd “scenic opportunity” or unconnected painting of a glade that I inserted here for no, as yet, obvious reason. From mushroms to a caged tyger. (7 May 12 – 2.40 pm bst)

Page 252 – 262

Hoping for salvation.

I’d already thought before that some of the scenes were upon some Henri Rousseau path: a strong innocence of temperament – and here there is an amazing shelter provided from the Starkblast (an irresistible force meeting an immoveable object?) – not within the Dogan or the  cage  as expected – but by means of something (a spoiler to divulge) that makes me think that text-on-‘sheet’ is stronger than text on some new-fangled beamed path.  You will see what I mean when you read this book, not in an ebook, but on paper. A stunning sequence in this section, even if, for me, the plot-line gets a tad too innocent – with its ‘choose your own path to adventure’ devices from my own children’s childhood! (7 May 12 – 3.10 pm bst) 

Page 262 – 283

“…the wind that blows through the keyhole…”

The story within later gradually unfolds or shrinks to its close like the protecting ‘sheet’ it’s written on. Weirdmonger or Maerlyn, I was wrong. Perhaps still am. No single reader on his or her own (i.e. without sharing their own respective real-time reviews as coordinates) can nail the ultimate power in or from The Dark Tower. Mingled with excusable sentimentality, the ending – with his ma, widow Smack, step dadda – is one not to be divulged. A melodrama-to-be-laughed-off and a trenchant or cruel reality you cannot avoid, both at the same time. A perfect ending. But we are not ended yet. Perhaps because nothing is perfect in life’s endings – or in fiction’s? Or nothing can end? “‘Enough palaver,’ said the mage. ‘Sit on the dibbin.'” (7 May 12 – 3.55 pm bst)



“None looked like anything more or less than what they were: salties in a dying mining town where the rails ended.”

The culmination of the whodunniticisation of the salt miners and which of them was – the shape-shifting skin-man in an identity parade – or Spartacus, I guess? The climax is Horror Genre plain and simple. Good stuff. No subtleties to scry – only a good old blow out through the bar’s batwing doors and the glimpse between its crack or keyhole strip coming through in the shape of cinematic monstrosity to haunt your nightmares.  Meanwhile, there is an honest symphonic structure to this book: without pretension, perhaps even without intention. Naive art. The Intentional Fallacy rampant. Except I suspect the ‘dying fall’ of this outer-inner-story’s epilogue is meticulously, artfully intrinsic to that of the Dark Tower series as a whole even back of beyond where these innerstories are timed: the unforgiving backstorydrop of Roland and his mother.  A book is only a work of art if  you can’t explain why it seems incontravertibly to be a work of art.  Like Tim’s or Roland’s youthful instinctual heroism emanating from a B9 oldster – an oldster ferryman like King, like me … like you (now or one day soonish).  (7 May 12 – 7.05 pm bst)


A satisfying short Coda involving Roland, Susannah, Jake and Eddie as well as being the ending bracket of the book’s outer skin of narration, pre-Wolves of Calla. Oy am very happy.  Not knowing is part of knowing everything.

“He closed his eyes and saw billy-bumblers on their hind legs, dancing in the moonlight.” (7 May 12 – 7.30 pm bst)


4 responses to “*

  1. Henri Rousseau: MY REAL-TIME REVIEW: Stephen King

    A Naive Art style – germane to TWTTK, to my mind.

    First recorded mention of this proposed link between the SK and HR.
    “Tiger In A Tropical Storm” (Surprised!)

    Can you see the keyhole?

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