“Go then, there are other worlds than these.”

KING - The Dark Tower 01

There remains a Sasha-shaped clearing on my bed; it’s the debris from the stillness of hours devoted to one book alone—there are (the leavings of lunch:) empty soda cans and bags of potato chips, an ashtray and a hollowed pack of cigarettes, a cellphone guiltlessly ignored. That is: I’ve finished reading Stephen King’s The Dark Tower—meaning, the seventh and last book; meaning, all of it. I can’t remember the last time I was so consumed by someone else’s world for months. The last time I had something constant to turn to, a much-needed something to get lost in.

Someone asked me recently if I had trouble finding my place in the world upon booklessness—that moment or so after turning the last page, and all the words and their attendant worlds settle inside you and here comes the realization that: There—you’re done with this book, you’ll never ever read this for the first time ever again. Probable futures loom before you, most vivid is having to spend the necessary days with books unfortunate enough to follow, books you can’t even let in just yet—but you have to read, that’s what you do, you keep on reading. I don’t know why I didn’t answer his question directly. “Yes, I do,” would have done just fine, no?

* * *

KING - The Dark Tower 02

I’d have you see the like this; I’d have you see them very well. Will you? They are clustered around Suzie’s Cruisin Trike, embracing in the aftermath of their victory. I’d have you see them this way not because they have won a great battle—they know better than that, every one of them—but because now they are ka-tet for the last time. The story of their fellowship ends here, on this make-believe street and beneath this artificial sun; the rest of the tale will be short and brutal compared to all that’s gone before. Because when ka-tet breaks, the end always comes quickly. Say sorry.

To the Dark Tower, the Childe Roland came, and we sang all their names.

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9 comments

  1. Congratulations! I got through book four and got distracted but really want to finish the world. Except then it will be over…

    1. It was so difficult for me to get through Book 4. I wanted to get on with the ka-tet’s adventure, but King decided to throw us back in time to Roland’s adolescence. Augh. I love Roland best, I do, but I’ve always wondered if it would have been better if I knew about all this in, say, Book 01.

  2. […] in favor of other books—a book about a defeated man, David Shields’ hysteria, Stephen King’s The Dark Tower novels, half a dozen (oh lord) […]

  3. […] network, the announcer goes “But wait, there’s more!”—this novel is like that, for the Dark Tower novels. This is book 4.5, which King just totally made up. This makes me so happy, you can’t even […]

  4. Reblogged this on seekingstories and commented:
    this series was whats up. Mr. King can do his work very well.

  5. I read these books in high school and they still remain to this day one of my favorite fantasy series. I remember being angry about the conclusion when I first read it (I was in the 10th grade and felt like somehow King owed the reader a better ending) but now I realize that it’s kinda the perfect ending. Nothing in the tower would have satisfactorily ended such an epic series except the ultimate lesson of journey over destination.

    1. I don’t know if I could have done what most of the series’ followers did and waited years and years between books. And, like you, my first reaction to that ending was outrage. I wanted something definite, I wanted to be assured that all was well. But, yes, once calmness prevailed, I realized: The quest for the Dark Tower couldn’t have ended any other way.

  6. […] because I’ve become so used to kick-starting a reading life in hibernation, I’ve grown certain a big helping of plot and wonder is just what’s needed; partly because of some unshakeable notion that this there is no better […]

  7. […] wonder and intelligence and logic in it. (See my odes to Stephen King’s The Dark Tower opus, for some rabid squee-ing along these lines.) And, also, Cheryl Stayed’s almost universally adored Dear Sugar, which hit me […]

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