Wednesday, July 01, 2015


I am sure you'll piss yourself wet and damp


“Mr. Mercedes” was a prodigy in Stephen King’s long and voluminous work. But this sequel is a miracle this time. And there are so many reasons that I can only give you a few.

First the suspense is perfect. The end is unpredictable, really, at most one among many others. It is centered on a teenager, a junior in high school who is totally trapped by life. And the big event in his life is the 2009 depression that makes his father unemployed and his mother unemployed and then employed in a lower job. Then there is the phenomenal Mercedes terrorist attack at the job fair at the Municipal center. The son is suffering because his parents are bound to end up in separation and divorce and he hates the idea, for them, for himself and for his younger sister. What can HE, HIMSELF and  HIM AGAIN do about it?

That’s the genius of Stephen King. He knows how to center his stories on children, teenagers particularly, and he seems to be able to capture their psyche, their strange mind and growing personality, growing in tortured anguish, awe and angst, permanently victimized by their own self-centered altruistic ego. They want to do something for other people and yet it is always for their own sake and that’s why it hurts. So what happens then? They launch themselves on the most incredible schemes that are supposed to bring salvation and epiphany, redemption and regeneration to everyone they may think of, but first of all and mostly to themselves. Then they will twist their minds and their psyches and their neurons, mirror or not, because their schemes are bringing some wounds and pains to those they love instead of only helping them along.

Stephen King has always been able to do that, to describe that, to delve, dive and soak himself in such contradictory antagonistic and dialectical good bad-doing or bad good-doing. You would use a long M word, and that would not be Mercedes, if it were some solitary play, but these teenagers or tweenagers cannot do anything without involving other people in their intentions or in their targets, and good morning Vietnam, let me introduce you to the catastrophe of the century who kills quite a few people and nearly kills a few more. The criminal, the psychopath, the sociopath, and whatever else you may think of along that path, is an ex-convict on parole who is absolutely crazy, I mean a “path” of any type you can think of: sociopath, psychopath and even, that’s new, just out of the magic hat, culture-path. The poor man, because it has to be a man, is so fixated on the work of the writer he killed out of vanity and disillusion that he is able to kill half a dozen people to just have the chance of reading the novels this writer never published. Bad luck all along since he is frozen feces-less by his own intellectual mother and he gets drunk and he rapes a woman, a substitute for his mother that he would have liked to rape, that he should in his small logic have raped twenty times at least as soon as he was something like 12.

Then the heart of the novel is that the money he stole and the notebooks he stole too from that assassinated writer, he buries them before being caught raping a woman and before being railroaded down into some penitentiary for life. Then the whole novel is the peregrination of the money, that ends up in some charitable saving plan, and the notebooks, that end up all burnt up in the final catastrophic and abysmally apocalyptic scene, though six were saved by the teenager who plays hero – maybe he is in a way – and Stephen King seems to forget about these and seems to assume that they have all been destroyed. Maybe he should check the loose board at the back of the closet of this young teenager.

That kind of suspense novel is perfect, absolutely perfect and Stephen King manages to include some allusions to some of his short stories and films, but forget about it. It is gently vain and funnily gentle.

But the book has a tremendous symbolic value. 185 minus 6 notebooks (if I am not wrong on the numbers) get burnt up at the end of the book. An “autodafe,” an act of faith my foot, an act of barbarity from another time, another civilization, another barbarism, another monstrous inquisition in some Mesoamerican or south American Spanish or Portuguese colony based on burn them all, the male Indians, and keep the females for your service. And burn them all they did there in the basement of that closed and disaffected and abandoned Municipal Centre. All except six of them. How can Stephen King even imagine such a crime against humanity and against human culture? I swear I will hate him forever for this act but I must admit it is the perfect climax in the grisly repellent suspense crime story this book contains.

And Stephen King cannot obviously resist putting some “magic” or supernatural energy somewhere, but I can’t reveal it since it is going to be the starting point of the next volume of this psychopathic series.

Enjoy the novel, especially at night, and in the middle of the night get your courage up in your hands and feet and walk to the out-house at the back of the yard outside in the pitch-dark night, if you still have an out-house, and imagine the monsters that are going to catch you while you are tiptoeing along to that small bungalow of your physiological needs, but please do not wet your pants, underwear or pajamas, or whatever you are wearing, or the grass if you are wearing no encasement for your family jewels, just an XXX-large T-shirt you have put on as a nightshirt with some provocative inscription on it, front and back, like Bill Hodges’s assistant.

Have a good reading session under the full moon of all crimes.

Dr Jacques Coulardeau

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