Trying to categorise Stephen King’s books is fraught with difficulty — Elevation is a case in point.
At a mere 132 pages, it’s barely a novella, so should it be shelved with short stories? And it’s by Stephen King, so it has to be horror, right? Wrong! Anyone who has more than a passing acquaintance with King’s writing will know that even his horror novels aren’t really about horror. They are always about the characters, and how they respond to a situation — whether it’s horrific or not. He explores how people treat each other, and at the heart of all his novels are themes of friendship, kindness and redemption.
King again uses his familiar town of Castle Rock as a microcosm to demonstrate how destructive prejudice and intolerance can be, and how overcoming these emotions can be life-changing.
It’s easy to dismiss Stephen King as “popular” — whatever that’s supposed to mean! I personally like his writing style, which has an easy flow to it. But don’t be fooled – this man is a master of his craft, and every now and then, he’ll casually throw in a sentence that is, in my humble opinion, pure genius:
“The night was cold, chilling the sweat on his face, but the air was as sweet and crisp as the first bite of a fall apple.”
See what I mean?
(Just as an aside, signifying nothing – King can be a little over-generous in his use of expletives, but in Elevation he uses barely any, which makes this novella accessible to a wider reading audience.)