Here we go, as promised! And if anyone is keeping track, this makes book three of the TBR Tackle 2015. Twelve more to go! Also, if anyone else has read this, PLEASE feel free to start a conversation! I’m dying to discuss it! (And apologies for the formatting…I couldn’t fix it to save my life!)
This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.
And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides — or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abagail — and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.
In 1978 Stephen King published The Stand, the novel that is now considered to be one of his finest works. But as it was first published, The Stand was incomplete, since more than 150,000 words had been cut from the original manuscript.
Now Stephen King’s apocalyptic vision of a world blasted by plague and embroiled in an elemental struggle between good and evil has been restored to its entirety. The Stand : The Complete And Uncut Editionincludes more than five hundred pages of material previously deleted, along with new material that King added as he reworked the manuscript for a new generation. It gives us new characters and endows familiar ones with new depths. It has a new beginning and a new ending. What emerges is a gripping work with the scope and moral complexity of a true epic.
For hundreds of thousands of fans who read The Stand in its original version and wanted more, this new edition is Stephen King’s gift. And those who are reading The Stand for the first time will discover a triumphant and eerily plausible work of the imagination that takes on the issues that will determine our survival.
MY RATING: 4 STARS
I’m so glad I finally read this! And I’m at a complete loss for reviewing it!
I’ll have to think carefully about this, because The Stand was not quite what I expected it to be. I thought there would be a bit more action and not quite so much introspection, and I really ought to have known better. Stephen King has a reputation for being the master of horror, but he’s a good one for insight. Step one: set loose a deadly virus on humanity and see what happens. Chaos. Pandemonium. Mass hysteria. The total breakdown of society as people die by the millions, the powers that be try to cover up a huge mistake, and the world itself falls to pieces. Step two: leave the few survivors scattered and leaderless and see what happens. Through the agents of God and Satan, they rally together and try to start again, one group with survival as the goal and the other intent on annihilation and control. Mr. King’s thoughts of how we humans would react under such circumstances are fascinating. Would we take the opportunity given to create a better world, or would we merely pick up where the old left off in its own arrogance and folly?
The survivors were all well-drawn and all grew as the book went along (at over 1400 pages, they’d better grow, right?). Some matured, as in the case of Frannie Goldsmith, some emerged as leaders, like Stu Redman and Nick Andros, but my favorite was Larry Underwood. He started out as a “taker,” incapable of looking after anyone but himself, and he evolved into something greater, who other people could rely on and who could stand for something. Harold Lauder had less of a character arc than an ellipsis, but I can’t get into that–spoilers! Same deal for Nadine Cross! But both accounted for most of the suspense, and both were fascinating to watch. I loved Mother Abagail, but as for Randall Flagg…hmm…scary, sure, and I like how, as the face of evil, he can’t really be destroyed, but he’s not among my favorite of the King villains. Or monsters, for that matter.
The only thing keeping me from handing out a 5-star rating is that I think there could have been more action. There was plenty in the first third and the last quarter (those fractions don’t quite match up, but oh well) and then a long weary journey in the middle that felt like a long weary journey. It all makes sense, and it’s in this section where most of the insight comes in, courtesy of Glen Bateman, but…I don’t know. I think it could have moved a bit faster, or been woven a little tighter together. I lost some steam there when I had been so blown away by the superflu apocalypse.
All things considered, this one is a keeper. You have to commit to it, but it’s worth the effort. It’s a (very) solid epic from a brilliant storyteller, its message more powerful than I expected. And I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. My favorite quote sums it up nicely: “Love is what moves the world, I’ve always thought…it is the only thing which allows men and women to stand in a world where gravity always seems to want to pull them down.”