Saturday, January 28, 2017
LIT AND POLITICS
After reading a few disappointing novels, I decided to go with John Irving's The Hotel New Hampshire for a good dose of literature with beautiful prose, and Stephen King's Mr Mercedes. I knew I had two masters in my hand. And I was curious to know how King would do with the mystery genre. What I was sure of was that I wouldn't be disappointed.
King, after all, can build a sentence. And Mr Mercedes is the winner of the 2015 Edgar Award for Best Novel. So, damnit, I was all set.
What I didn't suspect (although I was reading a mystery) was that I was having one of my---rare, but still present---naivety seizures. But I did wake up. Took 50 pages, though.
Those same pages that the critics from major publications bother to read, I assume. Otherwise, there would be no positive feedback. And the only pages that King wrote, I suspect. I had similar experiences with Grisham. Not the early Grisham. The well established Grisham.
Well, the well established King seems to have imitated his colleague. Oh, I was quite thrilled by Mr Mercedes' beginning, even if I thought that the slang there was a bit overdone.
But after aforementioned pages, everything stagnates. The psychological insights of the murderer, promising at first, go in circles. The incest theme is just there to titillate. Still, I yawn instead, No one who has fallen in love will believe in the love story there. The eroticism and sentiments feel like overcooked noodles. And this silly sleepover is the motivation of the retired cop to find the killer? P-leeease!
Toward the end, there is some action that grabs some interest. Did King edit the mediocre ghost writer? Did some smart editor? But it is too late. It makes the novel all the more uneven.
In conclusion, Mr Mercedes is basically an ode to mediocrity. In other words, a piece of crap. So here is my message to Stephen King, John Grisham and the like. Don't become just a brand! There are writers like me who love words, who work their ass out to produce serious, thoughtout work, so let us share it. What you do isn't fair to the reader; it isn't fair to us. You're just playing politics. Literature and politics make for a bitter, undigestible sauce. So why don't you move the hell over?