2.03.2017

The Wind Through the Keyhole

I am re-reading The Wind Through the Keyhole, and I am enjoying it just as much the second time through as I did a few years ago. I love the narrative approach here, as Sai King both fills in some backstory on Roland's life as a greenhorn gunslinger while also delivering a truly delightful (if not somber) embedded narrative in the center of the tale. 

King does this often, and to great affect. Whenever writers trot out that old saw about showing versus telling, folks are curious about the actual strategies one might use to reveal character or setting or plot in a way that feels natural and unforced. That is showing, and one of the best strategies is to tell a related story. King wants to illustrate the scope of Bobby Fornoy's genius in "The End of the Whole Mess," so he has his narrator tell a pair of stories about how he built a glider and a radio as a child. His chilling novella 1922 is chock full of great tangential, but wholly engaging and necessary, stories. All of it amounts to depth and complexity in the storytelling. 

I am also reminded of King's depth as a writer when I revisit his stories from this universe. It's easy to overlook his skills in writing magical realism and epic fantasy, but one shouldn't. He's got a lot of Tolkien and Lewis and Bradbury in him, to be sure...

This is a fine novel for both engaging with a great story and studying the structure of a pithy fantasy with a keen embedded narrative...

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