Holly by Stephen King
Well, this is a book that has polarised the reading world! And it’s not the actual plot that has caused all the hoo-ha-ha, but the fact that King has set his book in the darkest days of the Covid pandemic and voices his opinions regarding how it was managed (or not) by the then president of the USA – he of the orange comb-over. This is the sixth book featuring Holly Gibney, who is a know hypochondriac, so it’s no surprise that she is vaxed to the max, wears a mask all the time and is phobic about washing her hands. Her anti-vaxer mother’s death, due to Covid, only supports her actions. How you, the reader, feel about the pandemic will undoubtedly influence your response to this book.
How King can still manage to write an original story after all these years, and books, is extraordinary. What a mind! There is no supernatural element to this story, which actually makes it all the more horrific. The Professors Rodney and Emily Harris, the perpetrators of the unspeakable acts in the book make me think of the German philosopher Hannah Arendt’s reaction after witnessing Adolf Eichmann’s trial: ‘Eichmann embodied “the dilemma between the unspeakable horror of the deeds and the undeniable ludicrousness of the man who perpetrated them.” His actions were defined not so much by thought, but by the absence of thought — convincing Arendt of the “banality of evil.”’ [Read the article here]
King knows how to pace a book – and Holly is a perfect example of a perfectly paced book. It’s not too long (hallelujah!) and he builds the suspense to the point where it’s almost painful! King says that Holly Gibney is his favourite character, and it shows. She’s feisty, she’s loyal (sometimes to a fault), she’s brave and she’s still learning about herself – you can see her character grow as the book progresses.
I loved Holly and was sorry when I got to the end. But be warned, it is not for the squeamish!