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1983 Stephen King – Christine Audiobook read by Holter Graham
The simplest period of Stephen King’s writing to chat about is his ancient years. Back then he was carving his own niche. He was not universally loved, but he had been universally offered, and that was probably sufficient for him. They were well-hidden — and I will speak more about that include Tommyknockers time – they were there. Nonetheless, the sound books came, largely because he had them squirrelled away. Different Seasons was printed between Cujo and Christine, but it was composed much earlier, back when King was perhaps more accountable for what he was actually doing. Christine was the truth poking out in the lie of Rita Hayworth and Your Body.
Christine is the story of Arnold “Arnie” Cunningham (a title taken from two Happy Days personalities). Stephen King – Christine Audiobook. A shortsighted audio bookish type who has just 1 friend and not much of a life. He’s an aching stereotype, but that is not always a bad thing — as King had shown before — particularly when the stereotype breaks their mold and becomes the hero. So, we accept he’s somewhat introverted; we take his one friend, Dennis, is one of the very hollow characters King has ever written, seemingly present only to inform Arnie to be cautious (and given that he is the narrator of the audio book, that is some going); and we all accept that Arnie would observe a battered, ruined 1958 Plymouth Fury on his way home from college and just buy it. No ifs or buts: he is taken in, needing to be cool, and he falls in love. Stephen King – Christine Audiobook.
It’s sold to Arnie by a crotchety back-brace-wearing old man named Roland LeBay, that loves that car, but it’s time to sell it on. Dennis doesn’t like LeBay. Dennis doesn’t enjoy the car. Dennis does not like the notion of merely purchasing a car outright (“To my ever increasing horror, Arnie pulled his wallet out … “). Arnie buys the car anyhow, takes it to a garage and learns how to flip it into the vehicle of his dreams: fixing the engine, the paintwork. He is suddenly (and inexplicably) appealing to a new girl in the town, Leigh (another of King’s ancient easy stereotypes: such as Susan in Salem’s Lot, she is a Very Nice Girl). Leigh and Arnold begin dating. Stephen King – Christine Audiobook. Arnie is a moron, and becomes increasingly such as LeBay, even to the point at which he starts wearing a back brace. Dennis develops something for Leigh – incorporating a smidgen of character to the story – and then, over the next god-knows-how-many pages, matters come to a mind, and we find, shock of shocks, that somehow the car is owned by LeBay or some thing, and that perhaps it is now trying to own Arnie, and oh my god ARNOLD rearranged is ROLAND and forth. The car drives itself into a snare set by Leigh and Dennis, and is crushed. Arnie expires in a (potentially) unrelated vehicle crash.
For this type of straightforward narrative, it’s a small structural mess. Stephen King – Christine Audiobook. While the majority of the music book is at first-person, with Dennis as our trusty reliable narrator, there is a section where he ends up in hospital following a soccer injury and the storyline switches, inexplicably, to third-person omniscient. It is jarring and clumsy – or it would be if it wasn’t close enough to the tepid type of narrative presented in Dennis’s voice the rest of the way through. (Incidentally, King has stated that he “composed [himself] to a box” when working on Christine, putting Dennis in hospital, which the narrative shift was the only way from that, which sounds suspicious to me: I can think of a number of methods to solve this narrative pickle.) It does not even feel like he has not been with us, not actually. Come the end of this book, it is still not clear that the third-person narrator is, or how Dennis knows what it reported. Both narrations are hollow, an accusation I Had level at much of the remaining audio book. Stephen King – Christine Audiobook. None of the characters feels as though they’re worth being underwritten (in the event of Dennis and Leigh) or overwritten (in the way that Arnie – and, by default, LeBay — appears to just become more and more absurd as the novel goes on).
It’s an accusation that only exists since a number of King’s more commercially famous books play off these now-standard horror novel devices. For the most part, it’s totally ridiculous, and more than a bit unfair. Except for, I’d argue. Christine is a novel which, King once said, began life as a short story. It could have been, such as The Mangler or even Trucks, a nice little short that did this whole plot in 40 pages. Nevertheless, it’s not. It was sold as a huge deal, King’s next major horror novel, also, I suspect, it had been the very first time that many of his supporters felt cheated. Stephen King – Christine Audiobook. I reckon King probably does too: it’s nowhere close to his best. Given the existence of another publication in King’s catalogue that deals with a supernatural automobile, 2002’s From a Buick 8, possibly King wanted to attempt this again, just to prove it can be carried out? In It it’s driven around by Henry Bowers’ psychotic father, in 11.22.63 a car of the identical description creates a range of looks (including being driven by the psychotic Johnny Dunhill — see the subject?) And at The Stand, Stu Redman and Tom Cullen find said model of car left handed, using a secret bearing the initials AC inside.