The Books That Live There: Stephen King’s Fairy Tale

According to an established tradition, the new novel by Stephen King – is titled fairy tale – is released simultaneously all over the world, inexorably invading bookstores and homes with its magnetic and disturbing cover image. What looks like an eye, on closer inspection, is a ladder. And there is a boy armed with a lantern to illuminate it from above. In front of him, a dog.

They are the reluctant protagonists of the umpteenth adventure of the master of the supernatural (call ‘horror‘his novels, if it ever made sense, is increasingly simplistic). Reluctant because they never wanted to be there: Charlie, the boy, thought he simply had to rescue an elderly neighbor who had fallen by climbing a ladder. Too bad the neighbor had a dog, Radar, impossible not to love. And that from his house at the top of the hill other worlds opened up – in a literal sense …

It is expected that places, in King’s stories, play an equally important role. All time. In this case, the truth manifests itself in a few lines, set at the beginning of the book: “That’s where I have to start: from damn bridge of Sycamore Street, “Charlie explains.” And now, in retrospect, I see a very clear thread that, over the years, leads straight to Mr. Bowditch and the locked shed behind his old and decrepit Victorian houseCan you feel a shiver running down your spine?

In the King’s masterful narrative systems it is in fact foreseen that even behind an apparently neutral background there are frightening threats. Stuff to think about, when life seems boring: it may be that, after an unfortunate event, a father and a son whose things have always gone relatively well suddenly open the doors of hell on earth. “I thought of the two of us sleeping in the car near the train depots or in the Walmart parking lot, among the campers (…). Homeless people, I thought. The bank will take the house, as in Furoreand we will become homeless. ”And when this danger is averted, when it seems to having found the balanceit may well be that from a harmless garden right behind the house one discovers that he can descend to hell – in the literal sense.

In this dark story, deeply connected to Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm, Charlie finds access to a world where the forces of Good and Evil continually collide. And in a much more explicit way than it happens on our “normal” Earth: in the world / bis there are the Villains, the Curses and, fortunately, even the Heroes like Charlie, perhaps able to defuse them. Not bad for a kid engaged in school and in sports, a bike lover because “cycling was a great way to strengthen the muscles of the legs and back”. But also to look around, perhaps when you get to the top of the hill: “At the corner of Pine and Sycamore Street, there was the Psycho house, who had been nicknamed that by Bertie Bird when we were only ten or eleven. In fact, she was Bowditch House: the name was written on the mailbox, a little faded but still legible if you squinted. But Bertie was not wrong. “And it is precisely from here that the portal, kept closed for so long, opens wide. Or rather, from the tool shed:” From behind the door came a noise of nails, followed by a strange squeak that I he made the hair on the back of his neck stand up. It wasn’t an animal sound. I’ve never heard anything like it. ”Charlie (and the reader) just have to go and find out what it is.

The Books That Live There: Stephen King’s Fairy Tale