Revival - questioning SK as a genre author

  • New to the board or trying to figure out how something works here? Check out the User Guide.
  • New 2019 Hours: The message board is closed between the hours of 4pm ET Thursday and 8:30am ET Tuesday.

    As always, the Board will be open to read and those who have those privileges can still send private messages and post to Profiles.

Neil W

Well-Known Member
May 27, 2008
1,203
2,587
Isle of Wight UK
#1
I'm trying to steer clear of spoilers generally here.

It is obvious fairly early on that, for a number of reasons, Revival is dividing opinions among SK's regular readership, and one of the reasons for this appears to be that many see it as non-typical King work. One comment says "Where is the horror?" (personally, I felt that the climactic sequence was fairly straightforward horror stuff, but however).

My question is more to do with whether SK, who undoubtedly started out as a horror writer, left that genre behind years ago, notwithstanding visits home from time to time.

What is typical King? What do we expect from him, and did Revivial meet expectations or not? I have ideas, but I'd be interested to hear from others first.
 

blunthead

Well-Known Member
Aug 2, 2006
80,756
195,389
Atlanta GA
#2
I'm trying to steer clear of spoilers generally here.

It is obvious fairly early on that, for a number of reasons, Revival is dividing opinions among SK's regular readership, and one of the reasons for this appears to be that many see it as non-typical King work. One comment says "Where is the horror?" (personally, I felt that the climactic sequence was fairly straightforward horror stuff, but however).

My question is more to do with whether SK, who undoubtedly started out as a horror writer, left that genre behind years ago, notwithstanding visits home from time to time.

What is typical King? What do we expect from him, and did Revivial meet expectations or not? I have ideas, but I'd be interested to hear from others first.
It's impossible for me to categorize sK. To me virtually each and every story is different from all others.
 

do1you9love?

Happy to be here!
Feb 18, 2012
8,644
64,490
Virginia
#6
...there is no "typical" King...he has re-invented or matured his writing approach markedly over the years...his "voice" remains consistent, while his genres and styling's vary...and by "voice" I mean his knack for capturing character, places/things and dialogue....
[QUOTE="AchtungBaby, post: 302047, member: 36657"] Remarkable characters I care deeply about put in interesting circumstances. Who say "ayuh" a lot.

That's typical King for me. Anything else is icing.[/QUOTE]

Exactly! I do frequent re-reads of King books. I love to see the changes as he ages, battles alcoholism, crawls back from near death after his accident, etc. All of these things have changed his works in some way, but he always excels at telling me a story and getting me to truly care for (at least some of) his characters.
 

Shasta

On his shell he holds the earth.
#7
Anyone who is looking for "the horror" in a SK book or classifies him as a "horror writer" has a very limited view of his writing. I think he left that label behind him many years ago. People who still look for this in his writing are missing out on a lot by not enjoying the books for what they are.
I couldn't agree with this more.

Most of my favorite books from Mr. King aren't "horror" so it always surprises me when people still classify him as a horror writer. But when I do hear someone say this, I have the pleasure of opening their eyes to an entire library of wonderful options for them to read.

I'm shocked that people are still surprised when I say Shawshank, The Green Mile, and Stand By Me (though I always start by calling it "The Body") were written by him.

I personally classify him as someone who writes character driven novels.
 

Spideyman

Uber Member
Jul 10, 2006
42,894
168,045
74
Just north of Duma Key
#8
The questions asked:
What is typical King? What do we expect from him, and did Revivial meet expectations or not?

Typical King is the way his muse speaks to him and he writes accordingly. Character development, becoming one with them is what makes his books. Not a classification/genre.
What do I expect-- anything. Looking forward to any journey he will take me on using his words to paint pictures within my mind as I read his words.
Revival provided all I desired and more.
 

Shasta

On his shell he holds the earth.
#9
The questions asked:
What is typical King? What do we expect from him, and did Revivial meet expectations or not?

Character development, becoming one with them is what makes his books.
Exactly! Spidey nails it, as usual.

The journey and the suffering that Jamie went through is incredibly similar to something my husband (a musician) is also going through, so yes, it met my expectations in that it was a character driven novel that made me feel the story.
 

Neil W

Well-Known Member
May 27, 2008
1,203
2,587
Isle of Wight UK
#10
I've been with him pretty much since the start, and it was undoubtedly the fact that he was a genre author which made the connection in the first place - all those books which began with "The", and SK offered two of them in his first 4 novels (and I was already au fait with Carrie and Salem's Lot). I read a LOT of horror back then. But SK never stayed comfortably uner "horror" - The Stand was as much science fiction as horror. I began to get a classification for SK in my head which might sometimes be called Horror, sometimes Macabre, sometime Dark Fantasy, but mostly just Stephen King. And there has almost always been something in his writing which speaks to me.

Over the years I have come to understand that the main element which hooks me is his characters. I have read criticisms of his characterisations: I choose not to argue with them, instead I say simply that his characters engage me, almost without exception, good or bad. And Revival doesn't buck the trend - I enjoyed every character in it.

Something else which works for me is the journey. I almost always enjoy the way he carries me from start to finish, the scenery along the way, the little stops en route, the comfort in which I travel. I can't say I'm always delighted by the destination but, hey, that's showbiz.

These two elements have been constants, and I am always sure I can rely on them. Horror/fantasy are often in there, but not always, and I don't miss them when they are not.
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
84,450
334,678
57
Cambridge, Ohio
#12
I've been with him pretty much since the start, and it was undoubtedly the fact that he was a genre author which made the connection in the first place - all those books which began with "The", and SK offered two of them in his first 4 novels (and I was already au fait with Carrie and Salem's Lot). I read a LOT of horror back then. But SK never stayed comfortably uner "horror" - The Stand was as much science fiction as horror. I began to get a classification for SK in my head which might sometimes be called Horror, sometimes Macabre, sometime Dark Fantasy, but mostly just Stephen King. And there has almost always been something in his writing which speaks to me.

Over the years I have come to understand that the main element which hooks me is his characters. I have read criticisms of his characterisations: I choose not to argue with them, instead I say simply that his characters engage me, almost without exception, good or bad. And Revival doesn't buck the trend - I enjoyed every character in it.

Something else which works for me is the journey. I almost always enjoy the way he carries me from start to finish, the scenery along the way, the little stops en route, the comfort in which I travel. I can't say I'm always delighted by the destination but, hey, that's showbiz.

These two elements have been constants, and I am always sure I can rely on them. Horror/fantasy are often in there, but not always, and I don't miss them when they are not.
...this is well stated, and I daresay echoes in general, the feeling of many of us who had tickets for the bus-ride from the get go....
 

TifAnn

New Member
Jan 12, 2015
2
7
42
#13
Anyone who is looking for "the horror" in a SK book or classifies him as a "horror writer" has a very limited view of his writing. I think he left that label behind him many years ago. People who still look for this in his writing are missing out on a lot by not enjoying the books for what they are.
Very well said! I know a lot of people who think his writing is "beneath" them because he is classified as a horror writer. They are missing out on the fact that he is actually quite a brilliant writer and a lot of his books have really deep meaning behind them. It's one of the reasons I am so drawn to his work is because he is absolutely not a "horror" writer. his style over the years has become much more eclectic.
 

mstay

Older than most, not as old as some.
Oct 13, 2007
6,022
5,553
Utah
#14
I've been with him pretty much since the start, and it was undoubtedly the fact that he was a genre author which made the connection in the first place - all those books which began with "The", and SK offered two of them in his first 4 novels (and I was already au fait with Carrie and Salem's Lot). I read a LOT of horror back then. But SK never stayed comfortably uner "horror" - The Stand was as much science fiction as horror. I began to get a classification for SK in my head which might sometimes be called Horror, sometimes Macabre, sometime Dark Fantasy, but mostly just Stephen King. And there has almost always been something in his writing which speaks to me.

Over the years I have come to understand that the main element which hooks me is his characters. I have read criticisms of his characterisations: I choose not to argue with them, instead I say simply that his characters engage me, almost without exception, good or bad. And Revival doesn't buck the trend - I enjoyed every character in it.

Something else which works for me is the journey. I almost always enjoy the way he carries me from start to finish, the scenery along the way, the little stops en route, the comfort in which I travel. I can't say I'm always delighted by the destination but, hey, that's showbiz.

These two elements have been constants, and I am always sure I can rely on them. Horror/fantasy are often in there, but not always, and I don't miss them when they are not.
This is it exactly. The characters and whatever journey they are on. I haven't encountered any other writer who does this so well.

i also agree that SK's stories do not belong in any one genre alone. Nor should they. That's part of what makes him so good!
 

notebookgirl

Well-Known Member
Oct 8, 2013
853
4,884
Somewhere over the Rainbow
#15
The views the characters expressed in this book was so interesting in itself. He takes things to a dark place. I would say there is no typical King though. This book led you down a path and you weren't entirely sure where it was going. I am not sure what I expected from this book. I just know I was amazed at the versatility of the book and it's characters when the monologue was coming from one person. You really felt like you were reading Jamie's life story.
 
Likes: jchanic
The Institute - Coming September 10th, 2019