The muses are ghosts, and sometimes they come uninvited.
I read this one while I was still in high school and I thought it was quite dark and (in parts) extremely troubling. This was an amazing book then and I wondered whether it would have aged well like wine. And I re-read it again over the span of two days, skipping over parts I knew well and cared little about, spending a lot more time on the parts that were interesting.
Set in the Maine territory King has made mythic, Bag of Bones recounts the plight of forty-year-old bestselling novelist Mike Noonan, who is unable to stop grieving following the sudden death of his wife Jo, and who can no longer bear to face the blank screen of his computer.
This is how we go on: one day at a time, one meal at a time, one pain at a time, one breath at a time. Dentists go on one root-canal at a time; boat-builders go on one hull at a time. If you write books, you go on one page at a time. We turn from all we know and all we fear. We study catalogues, watch football games, choose Sprint over AT&T.
We count the birds in the sky and will not turn from the window when we hear the footsteps behind us as something comes up the hall; we say yes, I agree that clouds often look like other things – fish and unicorns and men on horseback – but they are really only clouds. Even when the lightening flashes inside them we say they are only clouds and turn our attention to the next meal, the next pain, the next breath, the next page. This is how we go on.
First published in 1998, Bag of Bones was an instant #1 New York Times bestseller. It was lauded at its publication as “hands down, Stephen King’s most narratively subversive fiction” (Entertainment Weekly) and his “most ambitious novel”