Under the Dome

Under the Dome
Stephen King

It seems daft to call a 1000-plus page brick like Under the Dome a straw, but metaphorically it was the one that broke this camel’s back. Every novelist repeats himself, and despite the interesting political subtext – the town as allegory of America under Bush/Cheney – there just isn’t enough that’s new here to make such a long haul worthwhile. King’s more expansive (in scope, not page count) novels tend to be his weakest; a large canvas takes him away from the intensively developed, claustrophobic domestic horrors that are his greatest strength. His sentimental side is also becoming more pronounced, with the townspeople of Chester’s Mill (and their “dogs of note”) presented as caricatures of heroism and villainy. And finally the dome itself is as transparent a plot device as it is a physical barrier, resolved in a gratuitous gesture of cosmic sympathy for the human condition. All of which is reassuring, but I think I will be sticking with the Master’s more unsettling work, mainly written in the 1980s, from now on.