Although he’s commonly described as being a prolific writer of scary stories, the truth of the matter is that Stephen King doesn’t always write tales that fall within the horror genre. Despite being at the top of his craft, and being behind some of the most iconic characters, settings and stories in all of horror, Mr. King has also dabbled in crime-based fiction, sports-based poems and other forms of non-spooky literature. This is the case with his latest work, a novella that goes by the name of Elevation.
This approximately 145 page story begins with a great hook, that being a middle-aged man who’s losing weight without losing mass. His name is Scott Carey, he’s in his forties, and he’s discovered that this is not only happening to him but is also making him feel healthier at the same time. The problem is that none of it makes sense.
To both unburden himself and get a medical opinion, Scott has come to the home of a retired doctor friend. He tells the former physician, Dr. Bob Ellis, that something is off and then proceeds to show him that he weighs a notable amount less than he looks to. Scott then proceeds to show the fellow that no matter what he puts on, be it a heavy coat or even a heavy coat with several pounds of quarters in its pockets, his weight doesn’t change. The scale remains the same.
This scene acts as the opening for what is a rather intriguing and continually interesting book that manages to make a unique illness into a sort of feel good tale, at least in some ways. This is King at the top of his game, showcasing the ability to stray from the genre that he’s most commonly associated with (and found great success in), to tell a slightly different story. One that involves not just Mr. Carey’s strange weight loss and both his and his friend’s attempts to get to the bottom of it, but also the issues that the young lesbian couple next door is dealing with within their familiar town of Castle Rock, Maine.
You see, Castle Rock has recently become home to the aforementioned couple, who’ve gone so far as to open their own upscale vegetarian Mexican restaurant there. Yet, despite their hard work and what’s been called really good food, Holy Frijole isn’t doing so well, and it seems that the conservative town’s prejudices may be getting in the way.
To say anything more would be to spoil Elevation, and that’s something I certainly do not wish to do. This is a very good book, and one of the more enjoyable reads I’ve had in some time. It’s well written, interesting, has strong and likeable characters, and is in some ways even a feel good story despite its rather strange premise. Its short length also made it easy to get through quickly, which was helped by the fact that I had a hard time putting the thing down.
Due to all of the above, it’s very easy to recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for a good read this winter. Elevation is a strong story from a master of the art, and isn’t very demanding in its novella-styled form. It also shows that King is still completely on his game, even after more than several decades of publication.
**This review is based on a copy of the book that its publisher sent us.**