Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Book-Guide Explores Horror Writer's World

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Book-Guide Explores Horror Writer's World

Article excerpt

Maine is The Country of the Pointed Firs as the title of 19th century novelist Sarah Orne Jewett's classic declares, classic because it's a literary ghost net, continuing to capture a fresh crop of readers every season. A visitor walks into a harbor gift shoppe and spies the book among the lobster refrigerator magnets and made-in-China dory models and a Pointed Firs fan is born.

There's a Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' flavor to the work. An authentic voice of a time and place. Wonderful regional writing, a label many writers eschew -- Rawlings, in fact, didn't like it -- but respectable and worthy when the work is well done, not overdone.

Southern gets overdone a lot lately, perhaps because the substance of Southern literature is almost used up and writers who don't want to let go of the form are just picking over old bones of style and manners. Honey chile.

Like the South, New England is a storytelling place, a place that stories are told about, stories as various as Moby Dick, Pointed Firs, Carousel .

Stories as various as Carrie and Cujo and Creepshow.

Stephen King is a Maine man, born there, grew up there, lives in a Victorian mansion in Bangor, writes about Maine, gothic Maine, small-town, rural Maine far away from tourist Maine with the sturdy lobster boats dancing on sunstruck Penobscot Bay.

He writes about places the tourists do not visit, except in imagination:

"Folks in Maine give Jerusalem's Lot -- they call it 'Salem's Lot -- a wide berth, especially at night," he began his 1975 vampire novel, 'Salem's Lot.

'Salem's Lot, it seems, bears an eerie resemblance to Durham, Maine, a tiny -- less than a thousand population -- deadend town where King lived as a boy.

There is a centerpiece structure in Durham, the Shiloh Church, that appears to be the model of the vampire-infested Marsten House in 'Salem's Lot.

The notion is that Durham was so dull on -- and even below -- the surface that young King dived into his own imagination to find excitement. …

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