I’d never read any of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, but I was aware of it as an opus and as something that, in time, I would have to take a stab at. Luckily, my book club contains someone with a severe case of Kingophilia. As his most recent book and a nice gateway into the Dark Tower universe, The Wind Through the Keyhole had some serious advocacy behind it.
In short, I loved it. It had all sorts of things in it for which I am a complete sucker. The story itself isn’t much of a story, stuck, as it is, in the time between two of the earlier novels in the series (making it an interquel). There’s a little travelling and a little seeking of shelter. BUT! Within this main narrative, Roland of Gilead tells his companions a story of his younger days as a gunslinger knight. AND THERE’S MORE! Within this sub-story there is a further tale that young-Roland tells to comfort a child in his care. This sub-sub-story has exactly the right kind of fabley style that makes me weak at the knees. Fairy tales and multiple levels of meta-narrative — Fantastic.
The language and style of prose, the setting and world building are all top notch. I love the mix of dying earth (technology as magic), Arthurian, and wild west tropes and I will certainly be reading the rest of the series. I recently proposed to a friend that Iain Banks is a more important writer than Stephen King, but reflecting on my experience of The Wind Through the Keyhole, I am reconsidering. King is the archetypal master storyteller — the man writes a mean novel.