What Mr. King is really doing.

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Christine62

Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
493
3,117
56
Oklahoma City
#1
We folks in western civilization are addicted to the flash. Maybe it's hard wired in us--to be surprised or to be scared so we can say "Wow! I didn't see that coming~!" Or "That scared the **** out of me!" And we will replay these things in our head so we don't have to think about the thing that surprises or scares us the most: that we don't know whats going on in this life. We don't know what it's for or if we are doing it right.

And when **** happens as it often does --wife leaves, baby dies, the dickhead gets the promotion or mother doesn't remember her name any more--that's what scares us--our inability to make rhyme or reason of it. So we don't even try to make sense out of it. rather, we gravitate toward the nearest alien Buick with flashing lights that sucks stuff up and spits weird **** out.

Because it's easier to focus on that than our fragile, confusing humanity with no easy answers.
This is From A Buick 8 in a nutshell and if you examine Mr. Kings stories very closely you will find that is the reason for all of them. The scary thing is the hook, but if you take your eyes off the scary thing and not be lulled by it's dreadful hum, you will hear more, you will see the real story that Mr. King is trying to tell. The real story is not about the scary prop that he has put out to get a crowd to gather but the human story.

To tell the human story is what is he is really doing and the scary props he lays out, be they psycho clowns, steam sucking vampires or time traveling school teachers are just to ensure the biggest crowd gathers around the campfire. "Yes let me tell you about an Alien Buick but listen carefully because I'm really telling you about yourselves."

Am I being too romantic? I don't know. I do know that the human story of From A Buick 8 moved me very deeply. And then I realized what Mr. King is doing. He's creating this frightful picture that grabs you and you are mesmerized with fear but if you stop focusing on the scary flashy thing you see a mirror.
 
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Neesy

#1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side
May 24, 2012
56,228
204,277
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
#2
We folks in western civilization are addicted to the flash. Maybe it's hard wired in us--to be surprised or to be scared so we can say "Wow! I didn't see that coming~!" Or "That scared the **** out of me!" And we will replay these things in our head so we don't have to think about the thing that surprises or scares us the most: that we don't know whats going on in this life. We don't know what it's for or if we are doing it right.

And when **** happens as it often does --wife leaves, baby dies, the dickhead gets the promotion or mother doesn't remember her name any more--that's what scares us--our inability to make rhyme or reason of it. So we don't even try to make sense out of it. rather, we gravitate toward the nearest alien Buick with flashing lights that sucks stuff up and spits weird **** out.

Because it's easier to focus on that than our fragile, confusing humanity with no easy answers.
This is From A Buick 8 in a nutshell and if you examine Mr. Kings stories very closely you will find that is the reason for all of them. The scary thing is the hook, but if you take your eyes off the scary thing and not be lulled by it's dreadful hum, you will hear more, you will see the real story that Mr. King is trying to tell. The real story is not about the scary prop that he has put out to get a crowd to gather but the human story.

To tell the human story is what is he is really doing and the scary props he lays out, be they psycho clowns, steam sucking vampires or time traveling school teachers are just to ensure the biggest crowd gathers around the campfire. "Yes let me tell you about an Alien Buick but listen carefully because I'm really telling you about yourselves."

Am I being too romantic? I don't know. I do know that the human story of From A Buick 8 moved me very deeply. And then I realized what Mr. King is doing. He's creating this frightful picture that grabs you and you are mesmerized with fear but if you stopping focusing on the scary flashy thing you see a mirror.
Hey - are you Stephen King's long lost sister or something? You have summed this up very well - good observations!
 

Lisey Landon

Well-Known Member
May 20, 2009
754
3,960
Germany
#4
Unfortunately, I read the Norwegian translation of this one. It was many years ago, and I still haven't recovered. The Norwegian translations are awful.
But after reading your review, I am inspired to get the original version on my kindle. I know it's probably good, but that translation really killed all joy of reading.
 
Nov 14, 2014
23
109
43
New Orleans
#9
An underrated book, no doubt--and another important step on his post-accident road to recovery. He's basically starting over here, and I think it's appropriate that he stylistically takes things back to the first "adult" novel he read, Bram Stoker's Dracula. He's called Stoker a "ventriloquist," because of the many voices he employed in crafting his epistolary vampire novel. With Buick 8, King takes a very similar approach--and to similar results: the voices are strikingly different. Not a huge fan of the little cheat he pulls at the end, but there's so much more to the book than that one moment.

Hardly anyone ever discusses this one. Seems like it came and went with no fanfare. I wonder why? I seem to remember it being dismissed by some (prior to release, no less) as another Christine--proof that he was out of ideas, or something. Definitely one to revisit, one of these days...

(Of course, I find myself saying that about all of his books--I think I need to take a nice, solid year off from everything and re-read everything, starting with Carrie...)
 

Rrty

Well-Known Member
Jun 4, 2007
1,286
3,980
#11
Christine, I agree with you on this, and I love From a Buick 8.

I have to be honest though that, as I get older, I actually am becoming more and more fascinated by concepts/plots than by characterization/human story. To me, a compelling pace is sometimes more fun than a character's anecdote told to illustrate a point (although I do like those, and they tend to be the standout moments for me in a King tome that otherwise felt flat).

I think reading about the human element/story is something that works best for younger people (perhaps because they need to learn that stuff?). Now, I just want the ideas. For instance, if a mathematician and a physicist suddenly created a world in box where the square root of negative one actually existed and wasn't just imaginary (I'm sure there's a story with that subject out there somewhere), I would be focused on that...not the fact that the mathematician is an alcoholic and the physicist is in the middle of divorce proceedings.
 
Likes: blunthead
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