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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When Phillip Roth, P.G. Wodehouse, and other so-called literary writers are forgotten...

Wodehouse was most decidedly a genre writer. He wrote absolutely brilliant comedies-of-errors about the British upper class, and he was a master stylist: his use of the first-person voice in the Jeeves and Wooster series takes a backseat to no one before or since, IMO. I don't think he'll be forgotten anytime soon--he still has millions of devoted readers and is (not surprisingly) hugely popular in India. Philip Roth is also unlikely to be forgotten: he's one of the central figures of the great Jewish-American literary boom of the post-war period, along with Saul Bellow et al. Portnoy's Complaint is a classic; I can't think of another novel of the period that's been more influential. Note that I'm sticking to my word here and not saying anything about King.
Love those IMO's ... It usually goes without saying, although it is nice that some of us say it.

I agree about Roth and "Portnoy's Complaint" and even about his early stories. His later stuff, although extremely well written, leaves me with a feeling of "Why did he bother?" The reading usually leaves me with the additional feeling of, why didn't I quit early on instead of reading all the way through it?

We've probably beaten this one to death though. Maybe a good topic would be "which writers do we feel are overrated?" I won't start it, but if someone does, I'll come in on it.

The problem with any discussion is that few of us are going to change an opinion over the course of the discussion.

Thanks for bringing up the topic, it's given us all a chance to reevaluate. In this case, I may take another look at Wodehouse. It's been a long time since I read him.
Okay, so let me as you this, which writers from King's era writing about the same kinds of characters that King writes about will have staying power?
Are you asking me, John? Hard to follow the threading here, at times.
Are there people writing about the same kinds of characters? Or do you mean copycat writers. There must be many. Just trying to clear this up. I have no opinion in this.
Me, neither. For me the memorable characters out of the King novels I've read are the ones with weird supernatural powers like Carrie, the rabid St. Bernard in Cujo, the evil haunted car in Christine, the demonic cop in Desperation, and the guy in The Shining who succumbs to the evil of the haunted hotel--or even the hotel itself. The rest of his characters strike me mostly as generic horror-fodder or stock, central-casting types meant to represent good or evil. I obviously haven't read the whole body of work--I gave up about fifteen years ago, as I've said. And I haven't really read other writers in the same genre--I'm not that into the horror thing, because ultimately I have a hard time viewing the world as a kind of battleground between cosmic forces of good and evil, which seems to be the basic storyline most of the time.
Well, I haven't read that much King, but I did mean his everyday, lower-middle class characters. I'm not suggesting he does for rural Maine what Wodehouse did for upper-class Brits or Bellow or Roth did for Jews or Cheever did for upper-middle class WASPy suburbanites, but those kinds of characters.

The kids in The Body (that became the movie Stand By Me) when they start to realize that one of their friends is being abused at home or the guy in Hearts in Atlantis at the University of Maine on a scholarhip (probably the most autobiographical of King's characters) when the first peace sign shows up on campus and the divisions really start to take shape. Or the husband in Delores Claiborn (again with the domestic abuse, it's a bit of a running theme for King as well, scarier certainly than the rabid dogs and cars that come to life).

Those kinds of characters.

And the question is for anyone, but it was first directed at Jon.
I'm sure I'm missing someone, but the writer who comes to mind for writing the lower-middle (working) class characters King uses is Richard Russo. I've read several of his books, and even though his stories tend to take place in Upstate new York or Maine, I see the Western Pennsylvania town I grew up in throughout, including setting, atmosphere, and characters.
I'm a big fan of Russo's stuff. "Nobody's Fool" is brilliant. I'd add William Kennedy to the list ("Ironweed," etc.). No doubt others will come to mind. Wait--Richard Ford. Denis Johnson. Still thinking... Padgett Powell. Harry Crews.
Even the movie, Nobody's Fool is good.

That's the kind of thing I was thinking - and maybe Stewart O'Nan's book at the Red Lobster.

And really, for all I know King has even written a book like that, certainly no one is expected to keep up. What about the one with the baseball player's name in the title?
I haven't read those, so can't really comment.
For those who don't go in for the supernatural stuff, King's Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption is a truly wonderful novella. Characters that just jump off the page.


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