The review is here, and generally positive--although the reviewer does point out a couple of King's sentence-level clunkers, and makes a reasonable argument: considering the sheer mass of the guy's output, you'd think he'd be a better stylist. Here's the quote:

As for the prose, it’s not all smooth sailing. Given King’s extraordinary career-long dominance, we might expect him at this point to be stylistically complete, turning perfect sentences, as breezily at home in his idiom as P. G. Wodehouse. But he isn’t, quite. “Then it came down on her again, like unpleasant presents raining from a poison piñata: the realization that Howie was dead.” (It’s the accidental rhyme of “unpleasant” and “presents” that makes that one such a stinker.) I felt the clutch of sorrow, too, when I read this: “What you’re planning is terribly dangerous — I doubt if you need me to tell you that — but there may be no other way to save an innocent man’s life.”

The reviewer is forgiving, though--pointing out that "King has always produced at pulp speed," and that "writing flat-out keeps him close to his story, close to his source. It seems to magnetize his imagination..." Still, you'd think that a guy who has publicly expressed his frustration with the "snobbery" of the literary world would take the time to prove them wrong: it's not that hard to clean up the prose before going to press.

On edit: it's worth noting that Wodehouse published 72 novels (three posthumously), 19 short story collections, three autobiographical books, and several plays and libretti. So, no slouch himself on the output front.

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I think that Stephen King stands alone in staying power while writing about ordinary people or anything else for that matter. He writes about the people of Maine, but the people where I live could fit right in with slightly different accents and pretty much the same broad selection of attitudes as King's characters.

As for other authors who will survive from this period, only J.K. Rolling, mostly because she gave young readers a sense of empowerment and taught them that reading is more than an assignment.

After King and Rowling I see no one as having staying power for the next hundred years.

For posterity, I would have to speak about which books will survive until the 22nd Century:

"The Godfather" by Mario Puzo tells us everything we didn't know we wanted to know about the Mafia. It is probably the fictionalized version Sun Tsu's "the Art of War" and a paradigm for every criminal enterprise in existent in the world today including Al-Quaeda.

"Shogun" by James Clavell, expanded our knowledge of Japanese culture. It not only shows the meeting of East and West it makes us realize there are others civilizations rather than those of the West that deserve explanation.

"Dune" by Frank Herbert showed us that a single science fiction novel can be about more than one interesting idea.

I hate to say it but as shabbily written as it is "The Da Vinci Code," by Dan Brown will be remembered, not because it is totally accurate in its historic or religious references but because it tells a swiftly moving story that is interesting enough to make people ask questions about things they thought they knew.

Great fiction is not just story, lyricism, and style but it is also the ideas that a piece of fiction presents and the society it exposes and expounds upon.

There are dozens of writers who write well about the upper end of the middle class. Some who may be remembered more than others are John Cheever and John Updike, but their slowly moving stories may keep them from having the staying power of a King or Rowling.

This is all opinion, of course.

And posterity may pick someone none of us think about with regard to posterity: Maybe Robert B. Parker.

Robert B. Parker? anyone? Anyone?

I didn't think so.
I might have said Parker twenty years ago. Not now.
Oh, God, not that Parker.
After the book-publishing industry as we know it has completely bit the dust, as I predict it will in a decade or two--committed as it is to following the recording industry's entirely predictable clockwise swirl around the toilet bowl--I think we'll look back on The Da Vinci Code in particular and marvel at the fact that so many people willingly plunked down $16.99 (or whatever) to read such a vacuous piece of shit. And we'll all shake our heads and say "wow, it all seems so obvious now. No wonder nobody wants to pay to read books, when there's all this hype and hoopla but it turns out that this is the kind of crap we're selling them." Just my opinion, of course.
On the business side publishing does seem to be following the recording industry, but on th creative they seem to be following the movie business and looking for a few blockbusters a year (I think the movie business calls them 'tentpole' pictures that hold up the rest).

In the case of the movie business the (small) part of the market not served by those kinds of movies has turned to cable TV to get the kind of stories they want.

Do you think that small part of the reading market will be served by self-published books, or university press books or that kind of thing? Or will it just not be served at all?
The danger is that we will lose even more readers as those who still look for something more substantial will give up looking.

I'm hard pressed to find books I want to read, in the same way that I have been hard pressed to find anything worth watching on TV. I have reduced my TV viewing to an hour a day, and that for pre-recorded shows only, many of them British.
John: Well, university presses are under a lot of pressure right now--a number of prestigious literary journals have folded or are threatened in the past couple of years, and the trend seems likely to continue. University presses won't be far behind, most likely, as their host institutions are forced to cut "frills" from their budgets. The world of self-published books is a hostile wilderness into which serious readers seem unlikely to tread, to the extent that serious readers still can be said to exist--you rarely see them anymore outside of libraries, indie bookstores and universities. I'm not sure there's a sufficient mating population to keep them going, at this point.
I feel the same way about "Cujo." Nothing supernatural there, and the story isn't really about the dog. It's actually a wonderfully deep, insightful examination of two crumbling families. And it especially has some penetrating things to say about marriage.
King was doing NaNoWriMo before it was invented. :) Fast and high-volume.
I don't think it will be Parker either, but it may be someone we think of as pedestrian, just as many think that of Stephen King. Another name to throw out there as a maybe: Nora Roberts. She rivals King for a lifetime of best sellers on an annual and semi-annual basis.

All opinions on the subject are valid.

Who among us will be around in the 22nd Century to know?

BTW, my personal definition of "literary" although not held by Mirriam-Webster unabridged and especially by those who write so-called "literary fiction," is that literary fiction is what will be read a hundred years from now.
That's as concise and accurate definition as I've seen. I don't have the dictionary definition in front of me, but I suspect there is some value statement there, to eliminate writing that caters too much to "popular" taste. Books that will be read in 100 years have transcended that threshold.

Dickens is the example that comes immediately to mind. He wrote serialized stories to make a living, and they're still studied and read, though no longer "best-sellers."
The definition of literary classic is that it should have survived a hundred years.


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