“We fool ourselves so much we could do it for a living.”
Duma Key is a Stephen King book that, for some reason, received mixed reviews. While the Telegraph in the UK said that Duma Key "starts promisingly but descends into an overlong, self-indulgent stinker", the Guardian called Duma Key Stephen King’s “best book in ages”. Overall, though, Duma Key received positive reviews, even if quite a few people did comment on the length of the novel.
Personally, I remember reading Duma Key for the first time some time ago and I found the book heart-warming, poignant and chilling, all at that same time. Like all Stephen King books, there is more to Duma Key than just a simple horror story, although it does an admirable job on that front too. Duma key also looks at loneliness, coping with a life changing crisis, at friendship, and at love lost.
Some of the characters of Duma Key appeared in the Stephen King short story Memory, which was published in Tin House magazine in 2006. In Memory, which King has said was partially inspired by his own near fatal accident; Edward Freemantle recounts his horrific accident. The short story now serves to act as chapter one of Duma Key. Duma Key was first published in January 2008.
Here’s a PDFof Stephen King’s Short Story Memory that we came across.
Duma Key the Book
Following a horrific construction accident, which cost him his right arm, his marriage and a part of his sanity, Edward Freemantle moves to a rented house on a sparsely populated part of the Florida coast for what his psychiatrist calls a "geographic cure”.
In the isolation of Duma Key, Freemantle finds and befriends a kindred spirit, Wireman, who obviously has a painful past of his own that he is reluctant to share. Wireman is also seeking refuge at Duma Key, while at the same time working as caretaker for the elderly and sick Elizabeth Eastlake.
At first, the beauty and isolation of Duma Key, along with the eerie rattling of the shells with the movements of the tide, appear to be therapeutic for Freemantle. His friendship with Wireman and a visit from his daughter Ilse begin to draw him out of his self-imposed solitude.
He begins to draw and paint, and his art seems to just pour out of him. He paints strange looking ships, creepy dolls, and odd looking sunsets. Soon, though, it soon becomes clear that there is a lot more to the paintings than the eye can see and Duma Key begins to gain a hold over Freemantle.
He learns that he is not the only one who has a painful past. Elizabeth Eastlake also has memories that she would prefer to stay hidden, but these memories are reawakened, along with an evil entity named Perse.
Duma Key is a Stephen King book that will really resonate with anyone who has ever felt lonely, or who has suffered a crisis, and who hasn’t been through at least of those things? It begins with the fear and turmoil that Freemantle has within, and ends with him battling a much more powerful evil that exists outside of his personal pain.