Stephen King: The Wind Through the Keyhole

by Rachel Baker on May 21, 2012

“A person’s never too old for stories, Bill.  Man and boy, girl and woman, never too old.  We live for them.”  ~ Roland Deschain of Gilead, The Wind Through the Keyhole.

I read this book over the weekend. My reaction to it is still formulating, and maybe I’ll update this post as time goes on, but I wanted to do a quick review.  I’ve read a great many of King’s short stories and the two in this book are AMAZING!  This is not a typical book of short stories. The Wind Through the Keyhole is a continuation of the Dark Tower Series, but this particular book is a story within a story within a story…a very cool concept and one I’m not sure many authors could pull off as well as King has.

The book is easily a stand alone book – and in his author’s note in the beginning King lets the Dark Tower layman know exactly what they need to know if this is the first introduction to Roland, Jake, Eddie, Susannah and the Dark Tower.  That said, I’m not sure if I’d read this by itself, I’d be motivated to read the Dark Tower series. I sort of felt the stories would have been good in a collection of short stories rather than made into ‘Dark Tower Series book 4.5’.  In fairness, I say this without having read the whole series again with this book inserted into its rightful place.

SPOILER ALERT: The whole book just felt a bit like The Little Sisters of Eluria – it belonged as background to understand Roland, but it was more background than necessary to the story. I understand the magnitude of Roland forgiving his mother, but its not necessary to the Dark Tower series.  In fact, I sort of think the reader knowing he forgave his mother; and also knowing she knew and forgave him prior to the murder may actually hurt the story.  My interpretation of the series is that Roland’s motivation for following the man in black into the desert is based around the betrayal of his mother which led to Roland killing her. Roland has always seemed torn and tragic and, in my mind, the essence of who he is developed around the defining event of killing his mother.   Now we find out he’s forgiven his mom and  I think by taking that away in the middle of the series changes the whole essence of the story.

I guess there’s still a question about when he finally forgave; and I guess maybe its possible that just because he’s forgiven his mom, maybe he didn’t forgive himself…? I’ll read the whole series again maybe this summer, and see if I still feel that way.

If you are a fan of the Dark Tower Series, I don’t have to tell you to read this book – you probably already have it and will start reading as soon as you get some time to dedicate to your old friends in Mid-World.  If you have never read the Dark Tower series, this book is still very enjoyable.  King is a master short story teller, and you may find you really like what you’re reading.  I would also like to invite you to read the whole Dark Tower Series – its worth the time and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the whole experience.

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