Joyland, by Stephen King

Devin Jones has split with his girlfriend so decides to take a year out of college, and continue to work at the carnival where he's had a summer job. This turns out to be one of the most memorable years of his life, for good and bad reasons.

After reading The Hunger Games, I'd been put in mind of King's writing style (because that book made me think of The Long Walk and my anticipation was fulfilled with this book which is good old-style King, and a pretty standard (non horror) story. It's marketed as a "crime" novel, and I suppose it sort of is that, but it's mainly an excuse to enjoy King's compelling writing style.

It's told by Devin as an old man recalling this seminal year, so it has the flavour of The Body although the themes aren't quite the same: that was about friendship; this is more about growing up from teenager to man. Here's a quote from the beginning of the book which I marked:

When you're twenty-one, life is a roadmap. It's only when you get to be twenty-five or so that you begin to suspect you've been looking at the map upside down, and not until forty are you entirely sure. By the time you're sixty, take it from me, you're fucking lost.

I liked that not because it's true (maybe it is for some people I'm not sure I can identify with it) but because it sounds so good it should be true. And because it's stated so neatly, you feel like you're in the presence of someone who knows what he's talking about, and can be trusted with the rest of the story.

I don't think I can really find fault with this book. It was great to read, all the way through.

Completed : 10-Jul-2013

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